26 November 2019

Call for England's netball squad to be given time ahead of huge four-year timetable

Former England player and current Loughborough Lightning netball director Sara Bayman says England's Roses need to be given "time" ahead of a demanding new international cycle. 

The Roses, currently in South Africa for a three-Test series which starts on Friday, are being prepared by new head coach Jess Thirlby for Birmingham's 2020 Commonwealth Games and a return to Cape Town for the Netball World Cup a year later.

Bayman told Sky Sports: "I think that what you'll see is Jess Thirlby putting out lots of different combinations and really using this next year or so to work out who has got it at this level and who can compete with the top nations.

"What’s really exciting is that you get the young players being given an opportunity on the international stage, the players that we don’t see so much.

"Jess definitely does need to give these players time and I think that the netball public need to give this squad some time as well. 

"You've got to give players time to make the mistakes, learn from them and really get the speed of international netball and then you can start working out who is going to be great and who might not be."

Bayman who has 84 caps to her name believes that England are "brave" for having a very full-on international schedule at this time of change.

She added: "People need to understand that it’s likely to be a little bit inconsistent for a while before Jess fully works out what she wants from the team and who she wants in it.

"You'd expect results to be less important for all nations in world netball over the next 12 months because people will go through a bit of a rebuilding phase."

In July earlier this year Thirlby made it clear that she would expose a greater pool of players to the international stage. And she has done exactly that by putting out a squad against the SPAR Proteas with half of the players having less than eight caps.

England Roses squad:

George Fisher, Eleanor Cardwell, Kadeen Corbin, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Natalie Haythornthwaite (Capt.), Jade Clarke, Laura Malcolm (Vice-Capt.), Natalie Panagarry, Stacey Francis, Kate Shimmin, Fran Williams, Razia Quashie, Gabriella Marshall, Summer Artman.

Shortly after the test series is finished, the Roses will return to face New Zealand, Jamaica and South Africa in the Vitality Nations Cup in London and Birmingham in January 2020.

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