Midfielder Chelsea Pittman said she was “overwhelmed” and “very proud” to be included in England’s Rose squad for the World Cup in South Africa in July.
Veterans Jade Clarke and Geva Mentor are in their sixth World Cup selection.
Eleanor Cardwell and Funmi Fadoju were the five players named by head coach Jess Thirlby to make their tournament debuts.
The tournament kicks off in Cape Town on July 28, when England take on Barbados in their first pool match.
England Roses World Cup squad
Helen Housby (GA, GS), Eleanor Cardwell (GA, GS), Olivia Tchine (GS), Natalie Metcalf (WA, GA), Chelsea Pitman (WA), Jade Clarke (C, WD), Laura Malcolm (WD, C ), WA), Imogen Allison (WD, C), Funmi Fadoju (WD, GD, GK), Layla Guscoth (GD, GK), Fran Williams (GD, GK), Geva Mentor (GK, GD)
Travel Reserve: Halimat Adio (GK, GD), Sophie Drakeford-Lewis (GA, WA), Amy Carter (C, WD)
Pittman’s choice is in turbulent years In 2020, the Adelaide Thunderbirds surprisingly gave up the wing attack, then left netball training to become a cop.
She returned in 2022 as a training partner for West Coast Fever before being recalled to the Roses to face Uganda in October before joining Premier League side London Pulse, where she helped Locked in the Super League semi-finals.
She told BBC Sport: “I’m still pinching myself, overwhelmed with excitement, so proud. When I found out, I was so emotional – I cried like a child.”
“It’s unbelievably surreal and I’ve had to go through a difficult journey to get here.”
England have never won the World Cup, having been runners-up once in 1975 and have won six World Cup bronze medals, including a victory at Liverpool four years ago.
Seven of the squad’s 12 players were included, but Thirlby added some lesser-capped players after veterans Eboni Usoro-Brown, Stacey Francis-Bayman and former captain Serena Kersten retired last year. included.
Jo Harten also announced his retirement 23-year-old striker Olivia Tchine has had an impressive year at London Pulse, 23, and has been linked with Pitman and Clarke.
Midfielders Imogen Allison and Laura Malcolm, who played in last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, will also make their Championship debuts.
Helen Housby, who scored the winning goal as England beat Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, will join flanker Natalie Metcalf ) together for her third World Cup.
Defender Fran Williams is also included after a stellar season at Loughborough Lightning alongside Surrey Storm’s Layla Guscoth, who was drafted in 2019 but suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the group stage and missed the rest of the season.
“Our wish is to win”
It will be Pittman’s second World Cup appearance in a red dress, but after a period of uncertainty, the former Australian player is unsure if he will make it.
“We know we’re going to get an email or a Zoom call, and my negative brain thinks if you get a call, it’s going to be bad news,” she said.
“I was at the gym with Jesse [Thirlby] Message similar to “Can you take this call?”
“I went to the dressing room and luckily there was no one there and she just said ‘you’ve booked yourself a ticket to Cape Town’ and I started crying, I was so happy.”
This season, Pittman has formed a formidable midfield partnership with Pulse and England team-mate Clarke, England’s most-capped player ever, with whom she also lives.
“she [Clarke] Made me train and work harder because she’s been around for a long time, but she’s been the best for a long time,” Pittman said.
She recalls returning home and the two sharing the news that they both made the team.
“We literally danced in the break room for five minutes like the schoolgirls were screaming and we were all crying – it was so good.
“Then I said we’re actually older women and we shouldn’t be jumping around like 12 years old!”
After a disappointing performance at last year’s Commonwealth Games, England finished fourth Without a medal, Pittman said the team has had a “fresh start” and believes they have the potential to go all the way.
“It’s a new team, another competition. The World Cup is the pinnacle of our sport and I believe we can do it,” she said.
“Our desire is to win. Is it going to be easy? No. But that’s what makes it exciting. Are we capable of doing it? Yes.”
Select your World Cup starting 7 – 1 = GS; 2 = GA; 3 = Western Australia; 4 = C; 5 = Western Digital; 6 = Guangdong; 7 = goalkeeper
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