Matthew looks to lead England challenge

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NICK Matthew, the world number one, has revealed that finishing fourth in the last World Team Championships was one of the “worst feelings” of his career.

The Sheffield ace is desperate to make amends for England’s rare poor performance two years ago in Denmark when he leads a strong four-man squad in Paderborn, Germany this weekend. Thirty two nations will compete for the title and the star-studded event includes 14 of the top 15 players in the rankings.

Matthew said: “After happy memories in 2005 and 2007 [when England won consecutive titles] it was a shock to the system to lose two years ago and shows we can’t take it for granted. We have an experienced squad and hopefully we can learn from that. If we lose and are beaten by a better team then we can hold our hands up. But I think two years ago it was a mixture of bad luck and our own worst enemies. We didn’t come together as a team.”

Matthew’s memories stem from an ankle injury mid-way through the tournament which left the world and Commonwealth champion wondering whether he was a “hindrance or helping the cause by sticking around.”

He said: “It was one of the worst feelings watching from the sidelines, especially in a team environment. So I am doubly keen to put things right in Germany.”

It was Egypt went on to win the prize two years ago – but are seeded behind England in Germany where Matthew’s team have been named top seeds. If it does come down to an England versus Egypt duel then the final would be awash with the top six of seven players in the world.

“It would make for the strongest ever final,” Matthew said. “It will certainly be a pretty special occasion and something to look forward to.”

England have been drawn in the Pool A qualifying group with 16th seeds Germany, Spain and Ireland.