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Team England Commonwealth Games squad 2022

Defending Commonwealth Games champions Team England have announced the names of the 12 players who have been selected as part of the squad to take part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games this summer.

Of the 12, seven Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) stars have been named in the squad with Manchester Thunder’s Nat Metcalf named as captain. Former Loughborough Lightning and Galleria (now Saracens) Mavericks shooter, Jo Harten has been named as vice-captain.

Supporting the squad will be four additional reserve players, three of whom have featured in the VNSL this season.

The squad features seven players who were victorious at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, including Loughborough Lightning’s Beth Cobden and Leeds Rhinos’ Jade Clarke. Meanwhile Manchester Thunder pairing Eleanor Cardwell and Laura Malcolm as well as Team Bath duo Layla Guscoth and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis will all make their Commonwealth Games debuts.

Newly appointed captain Nat Metcalf said: “It’s a huge honour to be selected for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. To get the chance to represent Team England at home in front of our amazing fans is so exciting. Having the opportunity to wear the red dress for England is always an honour and I can’t wait to see what we can do as a team together in Birmingham.

“Growing up I always wanted to play for England and being asked to captain the team is more than I ever could have imagined. I feel truly honoured to have been asked and I hope to do everyone proud.”

Jade Clarke, England’s most capped player having secured 185 caps across a 20-year career who has featured in four previous Commonwealth Games, said: “It’s a huge honour to be selected for the Commonwealth Games. Being part of Team England with all the other sports as one, as well as it being a home game makes it so special. I can’t wait to put on the red dress in front of a home crowd with this team and to represent England with pride.”

Head Coach Jess Thirlby commented: “No longer is it as easy to predict a England 12 such is the competition for places and depth in quality within our programme. We have worked hard over the last few years to ensure that the internal competition is high in order to drive the intensity needed in our environment to best prepare the team for big stages such as Birmingham 2022. The player group have been outstanding in embracing this challenge and the final 12 represents that hard work. I want to both congratulate and thank all the athletes that have been a part of this journey so far.

“With 925 caps between them and 21 Commonwealth Games appearances we can take real confidence from the experience in the team. What’s even more exciting is to see Commonwealth Games debutants such as Layla, Laura, Eleanor and Sophie who I know will add great energy to the team and have benefitted from increased international exposure in recent seasons readying them for the task at hand.

“The squad allows us the positional coverage and diversity to be able to counteract any of our toughest opposition and as important a consideration is ensuring we have the robustness both physically and mentally to sustain and elevate our performance levels over a 10-day tournament and the unique conditions that presents. Every single player knows what finals netball looks like and what’s required with many coming off the back of those within their domestic seasons both home and overseas which is invaluable. With those experiences we can continue to build momentum in our final prep and the collective leadership across this 12 is outstanding and one of our greatest strengths.

“We look forward to playing in another big tournament and representing our fans on home soil so soon after Liverpool in 2019, something unlikely to happen again in our lifetimes and one which we are not taking for granted.”

The netball schedule commences on Friday 29 July, with the Final being staged on Sunday 7 August.

Full squad: Eleanor Cardwell (Manchester Thunder), Jade Clarke (Leeds Rhinos), Beth Cobden (Loughborough Lightning), Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (Team Bath Netball), Stacey Francis-Bayman (West Coast Fever – Australia), Layla Guscoth (Team Bath Netball), Jo Harten (Giants Netball), Helen Housby (New South Wales Swifts – Australia), Laura Malcolm (Manchester Thunder), Geva Mentor (Collingwood Magpies – Australia), Nat Metcalf (Manchester Thunder), Eboni Usoro-Brown (Queensland Firebirds).

Reserves: Imogen Allison (Team Bath Netball), Funmi Fadoju (London Pulse), George Fisher (Southern Steel – New Zealand), Hannah Joseph (Loughborough Lightning).

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