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ENRIQUE: Staving off hockey turning robotic (12/6/2018)
--s2h team
If there’s one player that could stave off the real danger of hockey becoming robotic, it is Spain’s Enrique Gonzalez de Castejon.

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The 22-year-old forward takes the game back to a bygone era, leaving appreciative crowds enthralled and wanting more at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar where the World Cup is in progress.

Much as it comes naturally to the wiry young forward, Enrique knows too well that dribbling is an art that draws cynicism – both, from teammates and opponents.

“My team tells me to dribble only when I have space,” he said while taking a break from training ahead of Spain’s crucial concluding match against New Zealand.

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“I have the speed and my dribbling can help the team but I know that these days there a lot of strong defenders and it is difficult to get past them.”

Enrique, who took to the game at five years of age, was reminded of the realities of modern hockey in a 1-1 draw with France on Monday.

“We may have entered the circle 40 times but I didn’t score,” he reflected.

His idol is Dutchman Robbert Kemperman and Enrique admires his control and back-hand skills.

The young Spaniard also holds Mandeep Singh in high esteem, admiring the Indian forward’s dribbling skills as he does the prowess and composure of Harmanpreet Singh in the defence.

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An avowed fan of Real Madrid, the Spanish football powerhouse, Enrique concedes his skills on the hockey pitch are more akin to bitter rivals Barcelona’s philosophy.

When he does not play and train with the Spanish national team or his Club de Campo, Madrid, Enrique often finds himself at the Santiago Bernabeau stadium, home of the football club he loves so much.

And like millions of Spanish youngsters, Enrique could well have been displaying nifty footwork on a soccer pitch instead of wielding the stick but his father, also by the same name and a former hockey player himself, influenced him otherwise.

Enrique studies business administration and even as he looks ahead to his future, he spells out aims and ambitions on the hockey pitch first.

“I want to play in the Olympic Games,” said the FIH Player of the 2016 Junior World Cup in Lucknow despite Spain finishing distant sixth.

Enrique also has ambitions of playing in the Dutch league, notably for HC Bloemendaal. However, national team commitments at its training base in Barcelona and the hectic travelling that the FIH Pro League entails will compel him to continue with Club de Campo.

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