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Funmi Fadoju leads the league for deflections this season

Funmi Fadoju leads the league for deflections this season

Funmi Fadoju can’t quite believe her call-up to the Vitality Roses programme, after the 19-year-old was included in Jess Thirlby’s squad on Tuesday.

The London Pulse defender has shone so far in the Vitality Netball Superleague, with a league-high 77 deflections despite missing a few games with injury.

Fadoju caught up with Caroline Barker and Tamsin Greenway on the latest episode of Off the Court, and spoke of her excitement at getting the call-up to the national team.

“I feel like I’m still processing it,” said Fadoju.

“It’s an amazing opportunity, I’m so happy that nearly half the team of Pulse are in it too so I’m not alone, and it’s just a really exciting opportunity – can’t wait!”

Fadoju is joined in the Vitality Roses programme by three other Pulse stars – Zara Everitt, Ellie Rattu, and Olivia Tchine – and the defender is pleased to be joined by some familiar faces thanks to their strong bond off the court.

She said: “Having these relationships with the other girls, I can go talk to them outside of netball, any time of the day.

“I ask them so many questions, about university, anything that is going on in my life. To be able to have those conversations is so important, as it’s easier to have conversations on the court, I’m not scared to say anything.

“It’s all just fun, it’s just a lovely community and I love being here so it’s nice to be in the England team with them as well.”

Pulse’s quartet of Roses is a reflection of the impressive performances the franchise have put in this season, which sees Sam Bird’s side sit third in the Vitality Netball Superleague – and Fadoju said they are determined to qualify for the Play-Offs for the first time.

“We’re all in this mindset of winning, we all want the same, we all want to be in the top four and we believe that we can do it,” she said.

“Every conversation I have with the girls, everyone’s like we’re gonna do it, and we have to now.”

It would be yet another achievement in the short career of Fadoju, who has had a rapid rise all the way to the latest milestone of being selected for the Vitality Roses programme, and the 19-year-old is dreaming of stepping out on court for her country.

She added: “I started out when I was 13 and at first it was just for fun, all my friends were playing it so I just loved going every single day.

“As I started to go up the league – county, regional, London Pulse – I got to know more about netball, become more aware of the England team and I started to idolise them and I was always like, ‘imagine if I was in the England team’ and then before you know it, here I am!

“It’s a dream for me to one day play for them. It would mean so much – that’s my ultimate dream right now, to have that opportunity.

“It would be nerve-wracking, but overall to be able to be on that court with all my idols, everyone that I looked up to when I was younger, would be a dream for me.

“Especially for everyone that has supported me on my journey, to pay them back and say thank you for doing this and now look at where I am.”

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