With two tours under her wing as England head coach, Jess Thirlby reflects on the Vitality Roses’ journey to date and looks towards their toughest tests yet in the forthcoming Vitality Nations Cup.
Since being announced as Tracey Neville’s successor at the end of July last year, Thirlby has hardly had a minute to pause for thought.
Instead, she has managed the dynamic of experienced Roses players taking time away from the Test arena, put together a new Roses squad, and led them on tours to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
Now, as we move full-steam ahead into a new calendar year, it’s time for another test – leading the Roses on home courts against some of the most talented netball nations in the world.
England Roses Squad for Vitality Nations Cup
Eleanor Cardwell George Fisher Sophie Drakeford-Lewis Kadeen Corbin Natalie Haythornthwaite (Captain) Laura Malcolm (Vice-Captain) Amy Carter Natalie Panagarry Jade Clarke Chelsea Pitman Fran Williams Razia Quashie Kate Shimmin Stacey Francis
Thirlby is set to do this with a largely unchanged squad from the one which won the series 2-1 in South Africa and she believes, despite the group’s relative inexperience, they are ready to flourish again.
“I think that we’ve got a group that thrive off being at home as opposed to getting too anxious about it,” Thirlby said to Sky Sports in the build-up to the competition.
“I believe we’re going to see the best of this group to close this initial international period before we build again.
“I’ve got tonnes of information to go on and this is just another opportunity to see a slightly different group again.”