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Senior England debut was emotional says Emily

PUBLISHED: 13:00 10 March 2017

Emily Defroand (back row, third from left) made her senior England debut in South Africa (pic England Hockey)

Emily Defroand (back row, third from left) made her senior England debut in South Africa (pic England Hockey)

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Defroand delighted with display on South Africa trip

Former Coopers pupil Emily Defroand admitted her senior England debut was an emotional experience – and she enjoyed every minute.

Defroand helped England to a 4-2 win over hosts South Africa on her first appearance, having been included in the centralised squad for the next Olympic cycle, and also got to take on Rio bronze medalists Germany while on tour.

And the 22-year-old said: “It was a very proud moment. I remember singing the national anthem with a tear in my eye, thinking how I’d always dreamed of this moment and for it to have become a reality was so surreal.

“We won too, which was an added bonus, but I really did enjoy every minute and I loved the trip.

“Playing the Olympic bronze medalists Germany, in particular, showed the demands of playing at this level and the speed not only physically, but mentally that is required.”

Defroand, who played for Havering as a youngster and now represents Surbiton, was happy with her own performance during the games, but knows there is a lot of hard work still ahead.

“I was pleased with how I played however I feel I still have so much more to learn and give,” she added.

“It was more intense than I thought it would be, in terms of training regularly and the intensity of test and practice games, as well as daily gym sessions on top of the hockey.

“But it certainly was a memorable trip and a perfect opportunity so early in this Olympic cycle to get exposed to senior international hockey.

“The team bonded so well over the two weeks which reflected in our efforts on and off the pitch.”

The squad have now returned to centralised training and Defroand faces warm-up matches for Great Britain against Ireland, as well as games in Belgium next month.

“I’m now hoping to build on the experiences and invaluable lessons I learnt on my first senior international trip away,” she added.

“We’ll be looking to knuckle down both on and off the pitch ahead of a very busy few months ahead.”

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