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Defroand dream to become reality with England at Investec Internationals

PUBLISHED: 18:30 09 June 2017

GB international Emily Defroand with pupils at former school Coopers Coborn & Company in Upminster

GB international Emily Defroand with pupils at former school Coopers Coborn & Company in Upminster

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Former Coopers pupil in squad to face Argentina and Netherlands

Emily Defroand says her dreams will become a reality when she plays for England’s women in the Investec Internationals against Argentina and the Netherlands this weekend.

The 22-year-old was named in the squad by coach Danny Kerry, having only made her debut in South Africa earlier this year.

And with five caps to her name following a three-match series in Spain recently, former Coopers pupil Defroand will now get the chance to play for her country on home soil.

“I have dreamt of playing for my country at the home of England Hockey, at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, since watching the London 2012 Olympics and for it to become a reality so early on in my senior international career is amazing,” she said.

“The experience will be even more special, playing such world-class opposition in the world number one and three teams, Holland and Argentina.”

Great Britain’s women secured Olympic gold in Rio last summer after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win against the Dutch and Defroand knows they can expect two very tough matches in front of a passionate home crowd.

“It will be a big challenge playing the Dutch and Argentinians,” she added.

“Both teams are renowned for their pace and skill but nevertheless I’m sure it will be a fantastic spectacle in a sold-out stadium. BT Sport will be covering the games live, which is a huge milestone and a fantastic promotion for the sport in this country.”

Defroand is still a relative newcomer in the senior national team set-up, having been called into the programme for the next Olympic cycle, but she already feels it is the right environment for her.

“I am loving being a full-time athlete, I feel like I’m living my dream every day,” she added.

“It is a very demanding and pressurised environment but it’s amazing to be learning, training and playing with some of the best players in the world.

“I hope I can continue to work hard over the summer and stamp my authority within an extremely competitive squad.”

Olympic gold medalist Susannah Townsend returned from a knee injury to play alongside Defroand in Spain recently and was certainly impressed.

“I love her to bits. She is an incredible person to have around,” said Townsend.

“She is very positive and having seen her play for years I have never had the pleasure of playing with her before Spain.

“She had a little injury coming up to Spain as well so we spent a lot of time together and it was good to get to know her. She is an incredible talent and she will be a major player for years to come.

“In terms of leadership quality she also has that and it will be interesting to see how she gets on this summer and hopefully I will be in the team with her.”

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