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Vitality Roses: Jess Thirlby promotes young talent in 2022-23 England programme | Netball News


Funmi Fadoju, Zara Everitt and Olivia Tchine are all elevated from the Futures programme into the main full-time squad, Ellie Ratu and Alice Harvey are named as senior Roses for the first time; key experienced returnees include Helen Housby, Jo Harten, Layla Guscoth and Nat Metcalf

Last Updated: 03/05/22 9:02am

Funmi Fadoju is promoted from the Futures programme into Jess Thirlby's main squad (Image credit: Ben Lumley)

Funmi Fadoju is promoted from the Futures programme into Jess Thirlby’s main squad (Image credit: Ben Lumley)

Jess Thirlby has rewarded England’s in-form and talented young athletes when naming her 24-strong Vitality Roses full-time squad.

Funmi Fadoju, Zara Everitt and Olivia Tchine, who were part of the ‘Roses Futures’ programme last season, are elevated into Thirlby’s main squad.

Ellie Ratu, their club team-mate at London Pulse, and Loughborough Lightning’s Alice Harvey are both named in the senior programme for the first time, as Thirlby highlights the strength in depth which has formed in English netball.

Eboni Usoro-Brown returns after the birth of her daughter and other key returnees include Jo Harten, Helen Housby, Nat Metcalf, Layla Guscoth and Geva Mentor.

It is the first squad named by Thirlby since the retirement of England captain Serena Guthrie. The season includes this summer’s home Commonwealth Games and leads towards next year’s Netball World Cup.

Vitality Roses programme – 2022-23 international season

Imogen Allison Eleanor Cardwell Ella Clark
Jade Clarke Beth Cobden Sophie Drakeford-Lewis
Zara Everitt Funmi Fadoju George Fisher
Stacey Francis-Bayman Layla Guscoth Jo Harten
Alice Harvey Helen Housby Hannah Joseph
Laura Malcolm Geva Mentor Nat Metcalf
Nat Panagarry Razia Quashie Ellie Ratu
Olivia Tchine Eboni Usoso-Brown Fran Williams

In total, 18 out of the 24 athletes selected are based in the UK and play in the Vitality Netball Superleague, the remaining six play their domestic netball in the Suncorp Super Netball or the ANZ Premiership.

The Vitality Roses programme runs over 12 months and is made up of UK-based training camps and competitive opportunities at home and overseas, as well as in-club support for the players during the domestic seasons.

Zara Everitt, Olivia Tchine and Funmi Fadoju move from being Roses Futures athletes into the main programme.

Alice Harvey and Ellie Ratu are named as senior Vitality Roses for the first time in their careers. Rhea Dixon moves into Roses Futures programme.

Eboni Usoro-Brown returns to the programme following the birth of her daughter and is one of six overseas athletes selected.

Gabriella Marshall, Halimat Adio, Vicki Oyesola and Chelsea Pitman not named, after being part of 2021-22 programme.

“I want to thank and congratulate all of the athletes on their inclusion, the domestic clubs both home and overseas and our Roses Academy for helping to allow these athletes to shine,” Thirlby said.

Alice Harvey is named in the squad for the first time after representing England at U19 and U21 level (Image credit: Ben Lumley)

Alice Harvey is named in the squad for the first time after representing England at U19 and U21 level (Image credit: Ben Lumley)

“To have 100 per cent take-up of the offers made to athletes for this upcoming year speaks to the desire of people wanting to be a part of it and represent the Roses, as well as the culture and environment that has strengthened over the last few years.

“Not only do we see a number of our hugely experienced and familiar names retain their places in an increasingly competitive programme, but also new talent being acknowledged for their continued rise within their domestic competitions,” Thirlby continued.

“To see athletes also graduate from our Futures programme and be elevated into the Roses for the first time is testament that our systems are working well and we look forward to supporting those athletes who are transitioning.”

Roses Futures programme – 2022-23 international season

Ella Bowen Amy Carter Rhea Dixon
Brie Grierson Suzie Liverseidge Taylor McKevitt
Berri Neil Tash Pavelin Lois Pearson
Jayda Pechova Paige Reed Kira Rothwell
Millie Sanders Alicia Scholes Emma Thacker
Aliyah Zaranyika

Thirlby has selected 16 athletes in an enhanced ‘Roses Futures’ programme, which this year has been designed with the specific objective of preparing a cohort of athletes to be ‘Roses-ready’ after the 2023 Netball World Cup.

The programme seeks to maximise players’ preparation and conditioning and therefore develop them towards the Roses programme, through exposure to high-level training and international match-play experience.

The Future Roses programme also supports those players with dual careers, either undergoing full-time education or working, alongside a commitment to developing as a player within the Roses set-up.

The international competition calendar is still to be confirmed, as England Netball look to build into this year’s Commonwealth Games and the 2023 World Cup in South Africa.