November 21 - Jason Lee (pictured), England's head coach, is planning to begin building for the London 2012 Olympics at the Champions Trophy, which begin in Melbourne next week.


Lee has prided himself on continuity in helping sixth-placed England ascend the world rankings, an improvement that culminated in a surprise 5-3 victory over Olympic and world champions Germany to lift the European title in the summer.


But the group of 18 that travelled to Australia on Wednesday for the Champions Trophy, which begins against Germany next Saturday (November 28), will be without three experienced players from the side that won gold in Amstelveen, including former captain Ben Hawes.


Lee said: "I'd already told the players well in advance that we needed to get the next generation involved.


"We've had the same team together for around five years, but 2012 is only three years away.


"We have a choice of maintaining standards, or hoping that some of the younger players that are below them could be better than the current crop."


Lee is satisfied that the two uncapped youngsters called upon for the six-team round-robin tournament in Melbourne - 20-year-old forward Nick Catlin (pictured) and 18-year-old midfielder David Condon - are strong enough to make the step up.


The two Loughborough Students are the plus points from an otherwise dismal Junior World Cup for England, who finished 16th out of 20 nations in June.


The poor performance of the under-21s in Malaysia has been the subject of fierce criticism from some quarters of British hockey.


Lee acknowledged there were inherent weaknesses at that age-group, a concern for him for 2012 and beyond.


He said: "We'd like to be the best junior country in the world.


"But we haven't been gifted huge numbers of junior players, and our success tends to come from good teamwork.


"We still have some exceptional players.


"But it's just that the average one across that group isn't enough to make England competitive.


"But I've known Nick for five years and David for two.


"They don't come out of nowhere."


The Champions Trophy remains hockey's most prestigious annual event, yet it inevitably becomes a developmental exercise for countries with bigger events on the horizon.


The next men's World Cup begins in New Delhi in February, while London is readying the new Olympic Hockey Centre in Stratford ahead of 2012 Games.


Lee said: "The European Championships, the World Cup and the Olympics - every team puts their best teams out for those major tournament.


"Every team was full-out to win the Europeans.


"And we haven't really had time to sit back and reflect on how we won it, with the Champions Trophy coming up.


"But when we've retired I think we'll acknowledge that as a real significant achievement."