While Josh Tikare is only just making his way into the top level of international hockey, he already has experience on the big stage.

The 18-year-old from Beckenham spent much of his childhood on the West End, appearing in Matilda the Musical and The Bodyguard amongst other shows.

Now the midfielder has swapped treading the boards for running riot on the pitch, most recently for England’s Under-18s, but his teammates still ask him to perform occasionally, that is for sure.

“I definitely think appearing on the West End has helped me deal with pressure,” Tikare, who is a member of Aldi’s Rising Stars programme supporting 20 young athletes by providing a financial award to help with training and competition costs, while also delivering personal development opportunities to many athletes through workshop sessions.

“In high-pressure situations and matches, it’s not that I don't feel any emotion, or I don’t care because I do care.

“But I feel like I don't have that kind of overwhelming nerves because I have been performing in front of thousands of people, so when it comes to matches, I have that composure.

“My teammates do try and get me to sing and sometimes it works but we've got some good voices in the team too.”

Each year, athletes are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports, based on set criteria.

Aldi’s Rising Stars athletes will be receiving financial support through Aldi, as well as a monthly food voucher, to fuel them through training, competitions and to future Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tikare was also part of SportsAid’s Team England Futures programme this summer and was able to attend the recent Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The soon-to-be Oxford University student took in the hockey games in person before watching from home as Team England won gold in the women’s hockey, with the men adding bronze the next day.

He added: “Luckily I am part of the partnership with SportsAid and Aldi, and with Team England Futures they invited me to watch some of the hockey matches at the Commonwealth Games.

“Being there really made it more real and put that goal in front of me and made me see this is what I am aiming for, this is what I could do.

“It was really inspiring to watch and to see them achieve wonderful achievements of bronze and gold medals, and pushed me to work hard because one day it could allow me to do the same or even do better.”

Before Tikare heads to Oxford where he will study Chinese language, he has trials for the next step of his journey towards international success, the Elite Development Programme.

“The under-18 season has just finished so the next thing coming up is going to the under-21 EDP selection,” he explained.

“I’ve trained with the U21 before, I have seen what that environment is like, what the programme is like, so it is something I am eager to do, and I think I am capable of being in that space.

“I’m looking forward to the selection day, the trials are in early September and hopefully I’ll make the step forward to the U21s and then looking forward to hopefully playing some tournaments.

“If I made it into the senior side, my hopes would be to win a medal at a major competition, but I think deep down my goal is to win something at the Olympics.

“For me the Olympics has always been something that I have admired and enjoyed watching, I would just love to win something at an Olympics.”

Aldi is the Official Supermarket Partner of Team GB and ParalympicsGB and have partnered with Team GB since 2015, ParalympicsGB since 2022 and will be supporting them through to Paris 2024