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Tracey Neville sets ‘world class’ target for England Netball

Tracey Neville sets ‘world class’ target for England Netball
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England head coach Tracey Neville has turned her attentions to the Netball Europe Open Championship just days after the end of the domestic season.

Loughborough’s Ama Agbeze captains the side in the Championships section of the tournament, which sees England take on Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland between May 12-15 at the University of Northumbria.

There will also be a Challenge Section of Netball Europe in which Gibraltar, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Switzerland plus teams from Grenada and USA will compete.

“I have a massive dream. I think one of my massive dreams is to represent England, whether that’s coaching or playing,” Neville told Sportsclubsociety News HQ.

“I think the team has come through massive disappointments over the last four years. We are trying to make this better for the team and England netball. I want that passion back again. I want that belief, that team culture.”

The international squad had a crushing disappointment in the 2015 World Cup final, losing the semi-final to New Zealand 50-39.

The England Roses last reached the final in 1975, something that Neville is desperate to change.

Neville fires up her team during the 2015 Netball World Cup

“Myself, my team and England netball have been working tirelessly behind the scenes, just trying to change our competitive structure,” Neville added. “We have obviously brought the Netball Super League tenant forward to make it more competitive.”

England’s players will go full-time in June this year, with the hope to better their semi-final defeat last year.

The players will have their first training session as fully-fledged professionals on June 13 in Loughborough.

New Zealand’s Bailey Mes (right) is challenged by England’s Geva Mentor (left) during the 2015 netball World Cup semi-final

However, Neville expressed her frustration at not being able to make more players permanent.

“We have put in a lot of investment into our players,” the coach said. “At the moment, the only disappointment is that we can only make 20 players full time.

“We have given them the financial support. We have given them the programme that we feel is the best for England netball. We have given them the international calendar, which we have worked tirelessly on to get continuity over the next four years, which we’ve never had.”

England are currently ranked third in the world, behind Australia and New Zealand who have contested the past five World Cup finals, and Neville is determined to move to the next level.  

She said: “Now it is about us stepping up and not making amateur decisions but making professional decisions and becoming world class.”

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