Havering’s Defroand hoping to help GB women deliver in latest Pro League outings
PUBLISHED: 09:30 29 March 2019
Havering’s Emily Defroand is hoping to help Great Britain’s women put some more points on the board as they return to FIH Pro League action this weekend.
The 24-year-old former Coopers pupil flew out with the squad on Monday for their match with the USA on Sunday, ahead of a tough test in Argentina on April 6.
And having lost their first two matches in the competition to New Zealand and Australia, before a penalty shoot-out win over China, they have work to do.
“It was always going to be a tough start for us. Australia and New Zealand are really strong and always tough games in their back yards,” said Defroand.
“It was a disappointing trip in terms of results but now with our new head coach (Mark Hager) on board, we’re looking to crack on.
“The Pro League is looking so unpredictable, but we’ve had a good training block over the last month and we want to kick on against the USA and Argentina.
“There’s a big emphasis for us to get three points against the Americans. We performed well against China for the majority of the game and were disappointed not to get three points, although we still won on shuffles.
“We’re putting pressure on ourselves to get three points against USA. They’ve had a bit of a transition period, some key players have retired, but you know what you’ll get against them. They are very fast and energetic, but we’re going to put that pressure on ourselves.”
After going on to Rosario to face Argentina, the women will also visit Germany on April 24 before playing their first home matches in the competition. But Defroand says they cannot look too far ahead at this point.
“We were in Argentina last February for a five-match series in Rosario and it’s one of the best places in the world to play hockey, with a loud crowd,” she added.
“Their style of hockey is good for the spectators, skilful, fast and attacking, but we’re looking forward to it, although our full focus is on the Americans.
“We’re really together at the moment. We’ve had a tough block of training, physically and mentally, but we had three wins out of three against the Irish, which was a positive.
“We’ve had a few injuries in the squad over the past few months, but we’ve been able to draw upon each other and come together more. Mark is on board, with fresh ideas, and there is a good energy and buzz at the moment. It’s been a bit manic, but you wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Having won a bronze medal with England at the Commonwealth Games in Australia last year, Defroand now has a combined total of 38 international caps to her name.
And the midfielder is excited to be adding to that tally over the next eight days, adding: “I’m fully fit at the moment, but I’ve been working really hard.
“There’s always a challenge for places, as previous selections have shown. There’s a lot of young up and coming talent in GB Hockey, which is fantastic to see. It pushes us to train and work harder as no one is guaranteed selection.
“I’m happy and excited and can’t wait for the matches. It’s a team sport and we’ve got strength in depth at the moment in GB Hockey, which is a big benefit to us moving forward. You need that in the Pro League with so many games coming up.”
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