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Former Coopers pupil Emily excited to head off to World League Finals with England

PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 November 2017

Helen Richardson-Walsh (far right) and Emily Defroand (second right) speak to the girls from the academy during a training session (Pic: Garry Bowden)

Helen Richardson-Walsh (far right) and Emily Defroand (second right) speak to the girls from the academy during a training session (Pic: Garry Bowden)

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Havering hockey ace Emily Defroand admitted her excitement at being selected in an 18-strong England women’s squad for the Hockey World League Finals in New Zealand.

Former Coopers pupil Defroand was included by head coach Danny Kerry for the trip to Auckland, where the tournament runs from November 17 to 26 at the North Harbour Hockey Stadium where the world’s best will battle for the crown.

England face world number seven side Germany, world number three Argentina and China in pool B, with hosts New Zealand, the Netherlands, Korea and the United States in pool A.

“I’ve never been to New Zealand so I’ve got the excitement as well, but it’s just going to be fantastic and to play on the world stage once again to represent my country is a complete honour,” said Defroand.

“We’re there for over three weeks and the best teams in the world will be there, so it will be a fantastic event.”

The 23-year-old midfielder revealed she always get nervous ahead of squad selection and believes no matter who was picked for this event, they would have been well prepared.

Defroand added: “The whole week leading up to selection is always very nerve-wracking but we’ve got a fantastic group of players.

“We’ve got a squad of 32, so whoever does get selected we know will be well prepared as we work so tirelessly in the months leading up to each tournament.

“It’s very exciting we’ve got a really good talented group of players selected to go to New Zealand, so let’s hope we can do the job.”

Defroand also talked about her World Cup ambitions when speaking at an event in east London last Friday with Rio Olympic gold medalist Helen Richardson-Walsh.

The pair are to be the face of a new East London hockey project in the build-up to the 2018 Women’s World Cup and she added: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to play in a Hockey World Cup in front of your home crowd, in your home city. I don’t think it gets much better and to have that opportunity would be fantastic.

“I know whatever squad does play in the tournament, it will be a very special moment, not just for them, but their family, their friends and of course the sport as a whole.”

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