Domestic league is not supporting us, says Alexander
GREAT BRITAIN midfielder Richard Alexander believes the English domestic league is not adequately supporting the international team.
HOME TRUTHS: Great Britain's Richard Alexander, pictured right in action against New Zealand, has been critical of English domestic hockey (Getty Images)
Surbiton's Alexander particularly criticised umpires for not sufficiently protecting players and allowing too many offences to go unpenalised.
And he also urged young players to consider playing abroad, if they want to develop their games in the build up to London 2012.
"Players aren't being protected enough here," he said.
"Some of the lower teams in the league have been getting away with some shocking challenges, some of the fouls that are being committed are cardable offences.
"On some occasions my team-mates and I have been happy just to get through a game injury free.
"You can't blame the opposition though; if I were coaching against us I would tell my team to do exactly the same thing."
Alexander's Beijing team-mates Barry Middleton, Simon Mantell and Ashley Jackson play for The Hague club HGC in the Netherlands.
And he believes the best way for young players to get really ahead is to quit Britain for the continent.
"I think if you really want to progress as a player you need to play in Holland," he added.
"A league should always promote a high playing standard and allow the international team to develop and that isn't happening here at the moment.
"It is not allowing for the free-flowing hockey, and it is not allowing for us to be playing at the standard we play at international level."
"I think if you really want to progress as a player you need to play in Holland."
Great Britain's Richard Alexander
Despite having six Great Britain players in their ranks, Surbiton are languishing in fifth place over the Christmas break, after five draws from their nine games.
Top-of-the-table Cannock did not have any British representation in Beijing, and have enjoyed a strong start to the season and remain unbeaten.
Alexander admitted that he found it difficult finding the motivation to get back into domestic hockey after Olympics, compounded by a frustrating start to the season with a number of key players suffering injuries.
"Five draws in just nine games - it is definitely a case of two points lost rather than a well-earned point," he said.
"In almost every case we have been ahead in the game and thrown it away.
"Another time we were 3-0 behind, pulled it back to 3-3, but couldn't quite get that fourth goal, and they scored on the counter attack.
"One week we will go out and win 4-0 and the next we will do nothing different, play exactly the same and it just doesn't happen."