Captain’s Preview: England U21s start their Europe Netball campaign

Taking place from 6-8 October at the English Institute of Sport, England will take on Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the Europe Netball title.

12 bright prospects will play in the iconic red dress, as they take to court representing England, with many players in line for their first international experience.

We caught up with captain Phoebe Maslen and vice-captain Jade Popoola to talk about their netball journey and look to the competition ahead.

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The pair first met in the Roses Academy and went on to represent England in an invitational squad at U17 Europe Netball competition, but the two have recently become a lot closer since joining the Future Roses programme for the first time.

Prior to the Europe Netball competition this Autumn, both Jade and Phoebe have been a part of training with the Vitality Roses who recently competed in the Taini Jamison Trophy in New Zealand. Both credit this experience as being incredibly special and formative in their leadership style for the upcoming competition.

Jade: “I’ve learnt so much training with Hali (Adio), especially as an amazing leader.

“Even how to manage different environments, for example seeing how Hali really changed the environment in training camp in the summer has really helped us to learn.”

For Phoebe, she has taken inspiration as captain for this tournament from Amy Carter, who she feels has taught her a lot in Roses camp and looks to emulate Carter’s galvanising leadership style in the competition ahead.

Phoebe and Jade will be joined alongside other Future Roses Darcie Everitt, Harriet Jones and Freya Henshall as they take to court for their Europe Netball campaign.

As part of the leadership group, Jade and Phoebe are relishing the opportunity to bring different skills and dynamics to this new group.

Phoebe says: “I think we have a good dynamic because we communicate really well together.

“Jade’s a bit more chill and I can be a bit more stressed but it’s good because we balance each other out really well.”

Looking ahead to the opening game of the competition against Northern Ireland at 3pm on Friday 6 September, excitement is the overriding sentiment.

Captain Phoebe is looking forward to many of the group enjoying their first international experience, disrupted over the last few years due to COVID.

“Being part of the leadership team is such an exciting step up and we’re looking forward to getting out on court, having some fun and having the support of friends and family around us.”

For vice-captain Jade, it’s all about making the most of these opportunities:

“It’s a really new group but even in training, it’s been really nice to come and connect. Everybody is trying to get the best out of the experience.

“It is the first time for lots of people getting an international cap and experience and I think this is so exciting and a really special moment for everybody.”

As the young Roses get ready for the competition, Interim Roses Academy Head Coach Leah Kennedy is looking forward to seeing the wealth of talent in this group take to court.

“We’ve got an exciting mix of experience including academy players with some new faces in the group and some younger athletes that have been exposed to the competitions earlier this year.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing how they come together, implement the things we’ve been working on and seeing them go out there and face different nations.”

All games will be available to watch on the Europe Netball YouTube channel.

England fixtures are as follows:

Friday 6 October: England vs. Northern Ireland (15:00)

Saturday 7 October: Wales vs. England (17:00)

Sunday 8 October: England vs. Scotland (15:00)

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