Defroand in line for senior England debut
PUBLISHED: 16:52 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:52 10 February 2017
Former Coopers pupil named in squad for South Africa trip
Havering hockey ace Emily Defroand is in line to make her senior England debut this month after being named in a 22-strong squad to face South Africa and Germany.
Former Coopers pupil Defroand is included by head coach Danny Kerry for the trip to Cape Town and Stellenbosch, where England will play two test matches against South Africa and three unofficial practice matches against Germany.
The series leads into a big summer of hockey with a match against the Netherlands on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in June followed by the EuroHockey Championships and World League tournaments.
As expected this early on in a new Olympic cycle there are a number of new faces making the trip, with as many as 11 players in line for senior England debuts. As well as Defroand, Kathryn Lane, Hannah Martin, Livy Paige, Ellie Rayer, Erica Sanders, Amy Tennant and Anna Toman are all set for their first senior international appearances, while Grace Balsdon, Sabbie Heesh and Suzy Petty could make their England debuts having already appeared for Great Britain.
Goalkeeper Tennant, who has previously represented England at under-21 level, is currently playing in Germany for Grossflottbeker and is included as Maddie Hinch is unavailable as a result of club commitments.
The squad also features seven of the group who travelled to Rio for the Olympic Games in the summer where Great Britain won the gold medal.
Giselle Ansley, Joie Leigh, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Laura Unsworth, Ellie Watton and Hollie Webb all made the journey to the Olympics and will feature in the trip to South Africa.
There are also recalls for Susie Gilbert, Zoe Shipperley and Surbiton duo Sarah Haycroft and Jo Hunter, who last appeared for England in 2013 in a series in South Africa and has impressed with her domestic form for the champions, forcing her way back into the international reckoning.
Kerry told England Hockey: “The programme is moving fast since its restart on January 9. We have laid some good early foundations in other parts of the programme and we now start the very first steps in building and experimenting with how we are going to play.
“The matches will see us put out brand new combinations and explore new ways of playing based around the strengths of the new squad.
“Our rate of development, both as individuals and as a squad will continue to accelerate as we progress toward our summer tournaments and in the medium term towards London 2018.
“I’m expecting that both Germany and South Africa will potentially have more settled squads than us but the prospect of pitting our talents against that excites us. At the same time as we build our teamwork we will seek to do the same as a staff, putting in place good foundations for growth as a staff team to best support our playing team.”
England will face world champions the Netherlands in a one-off clash on June 11, with tickets going on sale on February 19.
England: Giselle Ansley, Emily Defroand, Sarah Haycroft, Sabbie Heesh, Jo Hunter, Hannah Martin, Hollie Webb (all Surbiton), Grace Balsdon (Canterbury), Susie Gilbert (Reading), Kathryn Lane (Leicester), Joie Leigh (Clifton Robinsons), Shona McCallin, Ellie Watton (Holcombe), Lily Owsley, Livy Paige, Erica Sanders, Anna Toman, (University of Birmingham), Suzy Petty (Wimbledon), Ellie Rayer (Loughborough Students), Zoe Shipperley (Buckingham), Amy Tennant (Grossflottbeker), Laura Unsworth (East Grinstead).