by Simon Daish
One of the players chosen to represent England at the upcoming World Championships is Samuel Walker, and the 21-year-old arguably holds the closest current ties with the host nation compared with his fellow countrymen heading to Düsseldorf.
Samuel Walker has been playing his club table tennis with ASV Grünwettersbach for the last few seasons and recently extended his contract with the team for the 2017-2018 campaign.
The nominee for the 2016 Star Point award Walker will be hoping to make full use of his experience of competing in front of the German crowd when he travels to the World Championships.
Another Englishman who up until recently was heavily involved with German table tennis is Liam Pitchford.
Plying his trade with second division side FC Tegernheim in the early stages of his career Liam Pitchford went on to secure a transfer to Bundesliga club TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen in 2011 and remained with the squad until the conclusion of the 2015-2016 campaign.
However, Liam Pitchford bid his farewells to Germany in the summer of 2016 when he signed for his current French club GV Hennebont.
Both Samuel Walker and Liam Pitchford were members of the England squad which stunned the world by securing a bronze medal at the Perfect 2016 World Team Championships in Malaysia.
Paul Drinkhall was the third player involved in that standout bronze medal winning campaign and just like fellow compatriots Walker and Pitchford he too has competed on a regular basis in Germany in the past.
Having spent time with TTV Gönnern, TTC Indeland Jülich, SV Plüderhausen and SV Werder Bremen Paul Drinkhall is no stranger to the German table tennis scene and is the most recent player from his country to claim a Men’s Singles title on the ITTF World Tour with his success achieved at the 2014 ITTF World Tour Spanish Open.
The fourth competitor selected to represent England at the 2017 World Championships is David McBeath, and you may have guessed that he too holds ties with Germany following his time spent with SV Werder Bremen and TTC Ruhrstadt Herne.
There is just over a month to go until the Liebherr 2017 World Championships gets underway and while the four selected English players will have to travel to Düsseldorf, Samuel Walker, Liam Pitchford, Paul Drinkhall and David McBeath may well feel right at home in Germany.