England Netball and Vitality announce partnership extension with Vitality doubling its investment

A new cohort of athletes have been selected for the Vitality Roses programme for the 2023-24 international season.

The Vitality Roses programme, now in its eighth year, welcomes five new athletes with four of them moving up from the 2022-23 Future Roses programme.

Of the 24 selected, 19 play in the UK in the Netball Super League (NSL).

Name  Club 
Halimat Adio  London Pulse 
Imogen Allison  Team Bath 
Eleanor Cardwell  Adelaide Thunderbirds (Australia) 
Amy Carter  Manchester Thunder 
Sophie Drakeford-Lewis  Surrey Storm 
Funmi Fadoju  London Pulse 
George Fisher  Southern Steel (New Zealand) 
Sasha Glasgow  West Coast Fever (Australia) 
Layla Guscoth  Surrey Storm 
Alice Harvey  Loughborough Lightning 
Helen Housby  NSW Swifts (Australia) 
Hannah Joseph  Loughborough Lightning 
Laura Malcolm  Trident Homes Tactix (New Zealand) 
Elle McDonald  Leeds Rhinos 
Natalie Metcalf  Manchester Thunder 
Berri Neil  London Pulse 
Jayda Pechova  Team Bath 
Chelsea Pitman  London Pulse 
Razia Quashie  Saracens Mavericks 
Ellie Rattu  London Pulse 
Alicia Scholes  London Pulse 
Olivia Tchine  London Pulse 
Emma Thacker  Loughborough Lightning 
Fran Williams  Loughborough Lightning 

Sasha Glasgow has been selected for the Roses for the first time having made herself available to the English programme, whilst George Fisher returns to the programme after having taken a temporary break from international competition.

Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby commented: “It’s hard not to be excited and inspired by this 2023-24 Roses cohort as you see the quality of the names listed. I would like to congratulate all of those that have earned a place on this unique programme that helps play a critical role in us closing the gap on the world’s best teams. With only 24 places available I hope every individual gives themselves permission to recognise what an achievement that is. Thanks also to the clubs both in the UK and overseas who have helped support them on their journey to this point.”

“It’s great to be welcoming back Roses favourite George Fisher to the programme after an extended period of rest before sadly getting injured at the start of her ANZ season. We look forward to supporting George’s return to court amongst her Roses family.

“Another warm welcome to Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) athlete Sasha Glasgow. Having put together really solid back-to-back seasons with reigning SSN champions West Coast Fever, it’s exciting to know that our programme and the Roses are attracting the world’s best players. We look forward to seeing how we can further support Sasha’s game and aspirations to play internationally in the red dress and have no doubt she will add huge value to the environment.”

Halimat Adio returns to the programme for the first time since 2021-22, meanwhile, Amy Carter, Chelsea Pitman and Elle McDonald, who all came into the Vitality Roses during the 2022-23 season, are back on the programme for 2023-24. Eleanor Cardwell and Natalie Metcalf have been selected for the eighth consecutive year and remain the only two players to have been selected onto the programme every year since its inception.

Berri Neil, Jayda Pechova, Alicia Scholes and Emma Thacker have all been elevated from the Future Roses programme into the Vitality Roses.

“Being able to reward and recognise our young breakthrough talent such as Jayda, Berri, Alicia and Emma brings a new energy to the programme and helps to keep driving the competition and ultimately signals that we are beginning to turn the tide in uncovering the depth needed for us to be successful in the years to come. All of them have had great seasons both within the Future Roses programme and in their respective club colours in the Netball Super League.”

The Vitality Roses programme runs over 12 months and is made up of UK-based training camps and competitive opportunities at home and overseas, as well as in-club support for the players during the domestic seasons. Players have been selected following a rigorous process that sees all of their domestic and international performances assessed by the team of England Netball selectors. Any players not selected in this squad for the full-time programme are still eligible for selection for competition.

Jade Clarke who has been selected for the upcoming Netball World Cup this summer does not feature within the new cohort as the focus moves to supporting a new generation of athletes at the start of a new cycle. Earlier this month, Jo Harten and Geva Mentor announced their retirements from international netball. Meanwhile, Zara Everitt has made the decision to take a step back from the full-time programme to focus on her legal career, whilst Beth Cobden has also decided to take a break from the full-time programme following a difficult period during which she was not available due to injury. Both athletes remain available for selection for competitive series.

Underpinning the Vitality Roses programme, a further 17 athletes have been named on the Future Roses programme designed to develop the next generation of Roses through exposure to high-level training and international match play experience. Amongst the Future Roses group is an exciting mix of athletes who have enjoyed successful seasons across the Netball Performance League (NPL) and are breaking through into the NSL.

Six athletes have been elevated from the Roses Academy into the Future Roses and seven of the athletes named amongst the Futures are eligible for the Netball World Youth Cup in 2025.

Name  Club 
Bella Baylis  Loughborough Lightning 
Ella Bowen  Manchester Thunder 
Ashleigh Dekker  London Pulse 
Darcie Everitt  London Pulse 
Yomi Eza-Wilson  Manchester Thunder 
Freya Henshall  London Pulse 
Harriet Jones  Manchester Thunder 
Phoebe Maslen  Team Bath 
Taylor McKevitt  Manchester Thunder 
Vicki Oyesola  Leeds Rhinos 
Natasha Pavelin  Team Bath 
Lois Pearson  Manchester Thunder 
Jade Popoola  London Pulse 
Emma Rayner  Manchester Thunder 
Paige Reed  Leeds Rhinos 
Millie Sanders  Leeds Rhinos 
Aliyah Zaranyika  Saracens Mavericks 

David Parsons, Performance Director at England Netball, added: “We have seen the impact that training and competing on the full-time Vitality Roses programme can have on the development of our elite athletes and on the success of the national team. We see this programme as being a competitive advantage for England over our competitor nations. As we reach the end of one cycle with the Netball World Cup this summer, we turn towards the 2026 Commonwealth Games and the 2027 Netball World Cup, both to be held in Australia. If we are to continue our progress and to be successful in those tournaments our preparation must start now and the naming of this group for the start of the new cycle with the addition of some young exciting talent to a cohort of experienced athletes gives us great cause for optimism.

“Naturally we are going to miss the likes of Geva, Jo, Jade and Beth on the programme, but this provides opportunities for other athletes to develop their games towards the ever-increasing standards expected at the top level of the sport.

“Furthermore, seeing the progression of a handful of young athletes out of the enhanced Future Roses programme into the full-time Roses programme reminds us how important it is to keep developing the pipeline of talent that sits beneath the senior team. We’re therefore hugely excited by the group of young athletes that we are naming in the Future Roses.”

The first fixtures of the new international season will be played at the Vitality Netball World Cup, starting on Friday 28 July. Earlier this month, the squad of 15 was confirmed for the tournament in South Africa.

Following this, the Vitality Roses will travel to New Zealand to compete in a three-match test series in September. Further fixtures will be announced later in the year.

More information on all the players selected can be found on our biography pages.

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