England Netball head coach Jess Thirlby is excited to lead her team on home soil for the first time at the Vitality Nations Cup

Jess Thirlby has confidence in the team she has put forward for the Nations Cup (PA Images)
21:14pm, Wed 15 Jan 2020
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England Netball head coach Jess Thirlby says leading her Roses side on English soil for the first time is a 'privilege' ahead of the Vitality Nations Cup starting this weekend. 

The four-nation tournament will see the Roses battle it out against South Africa, New Zealand and Jamaica across four match-days in three different cities across England. The last time the nation hosted was at last year's successful World Cup in Liverpool.

The Roses got their 2020 international campaign off to a positive start after they won a three-test match series against South Africa last month. 

Thirlby, who has been in the role since August after she replaced Tracey Neville told Sky Sports: "I can't wait. I think it's a privilege to play in front of a home crowd. I'm sure that we will all embrace that and really feel the support.

"I think that we've got a group that thrive off being at home as opposed to getting too anxious about it.

"I think we're going to see the best of this group to close this initial international period before we build again."

The Roses squad will be without the likes of Jo Harten, Serena Gutherie, Helen Housby and Geva Mentor. However, Chelsea Pitman will return with a heap of experience from the Australian Suncorp Super League. 

Natalie Haythornthwaite who has 36 caps to her name will captain the side, with Laura Malcolm as vice-captain.

"I've got tonnes of information to go on and this is just another opportunity to see a slightly different group again," said Thirlby.

"I think whatever happens in terms of outcome of results, for me a real measure of success will be exposing this group and seeing what levels we can reach out on court in terms of our performance."  

The tournament starts in Nottingham on January 19 and will finish in London on January 26. 

England Roses squad: 

Eleanor Cardwell, George Fisher, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Kadeen Corbin, Natalie Haythornthwaite (Captain), Laura Malcolm (Vice-Captain), Amy Carter, Natalie Panagarry, Jade Clarke, Chelsea Pitman, Fran Williams, Razia Quashie, Kate Shimmin and Stacey Francis.

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