Serena Guthrie column: Meet my England team-mates

Serena Guthrie
Serena Guthrie (centre) says England are in the harder side of the draw with Jamaica and South Africa
2019 Netball World Cup
Dates: 12-21 July Venue: M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Coverage: Every match from 15 July onwards will be broadcast by the BBC. Live texts on Home Nations matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

In her latest column, England captain Serena Guthrie gives us the low-down on her England team-mates and their preparations as Liverpool gets set to stage the Netball World Cup.

With the World Cup now within touching distance, there's a good mixture of nerves and excitement floating around the England camp.

It's been a pretty cool and intense build-up, but now we're ready to get going.

When we got to our hotel in Liverpool, our rooms were decorated with little things sent in from our friends, family and our fan base, and it felt like a home away from home.

We had England flags laid out on our beds with all our names on, and it was actually my Mum who organised this but I had no idea! Some of the players even had personalised bed sheets, so it was a really special welcome.

We've always said that we wanted to be in a final at this World Cup and that's still the aim. We're not just here to participate in a home World Cup, we want to try and achieve something.

We're under no illusion about how tough that task is. We're in the harder side of the draw so we have to play both Jamaica and South Africa before the semi-finals, so we need to take it day by day and stick together as a group.

And on our group, why don't you get to know my World Cup team-mates...

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Jo Harten

Jo Harten

Jo is the best goal-shooter or goal-attack in the world in my opinion. Off the court she's incredibly good fun and she's always instigating a game or a joke.

At the Commonwealth Games, Jo Harten and Nat Haythornthwaite got us hooked on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' on our phones. It took us almost the entire tournament to finally win the million pounds. It was a huge moment on the tour and the celebrations were almost as wild as when we won the gold medal!

Helen Housby

Helen Housby and Serena Guthrie

Helen (pictured left with me) is equally as fun as her shooting partner Harten and brings such positive vibes to the squad. She's a great character and again someone who is always up for an activity.

On the court, she's a natural-born winner and very, very competitive. She's an inspirational person to be around because of her attitude, and she's got a brilliant game face.

Rachel Dunn

Rachel Dunn

I think Rachel Dunn is my all-time favourite team-mate. She's been around for a long time and she's just a great egg.

At 36, she's the oldest one in the group but she's in the form of her life and it's incredible to have her around for this World Cup. Like the other shooters, she loves to organise our activities and that's earned her the title 'Games Master'.

Nat Haythornthwaite

Natalie Haythornthwaite

Nat is playing at her first World Cup and not only is she an incredibly hard worker, she brings a new energy to this team. She's another one who loves an activity off the court and I think she just loves spending time with all the girls.

Centre court

Chelsea Pitman

Chelsea Pitman

Chelsea is so incredibly passionate about this team. She's of Australian origin but she's just as much a Rose as anyone else in this squad.

The way she moves, the calmness and experience she brings to the attack mean she's a great addition. She won a World Cup with Australia back in 2011 so it's nice having someone who's done that before and I'm sure she'll pass on her knowledge throughout the competition.

Jade Clarke

Jade Clarke

This is going to be Jade Clarke's fifth World Cup. It's huge. Jade knows exactly how this team ticks and she's a leader on and off the court. She's a dogged player in both wing defence and centre and anyone playing against her will have their work cut out, she doesn't go away.

She has such a calming influence on the group but every now and then we call her 'Bruiser'. Like half of our nicknames, I have no idea where that came from. We just tend to jump on stuff when it annoys that person.

Nat Panagarry

Natalie Panagarry

Nat is absolutely loving the opportunity to play in her first World Cup, she's just soaking up everything and it's an extremely exciting time for her.

It was obviously disappointing to lose Beth Cobden to injury but in terms of a replacement she couldn't be more ideal. Nat dominated in the Superleague this season so she's a really strong and versatile player for us.


Layla Guscoth

Layla Guscoth

It's so great to have Layla back in the England squad after a few years away. I played with her in the under-21s at Team Bath and to see how she's re-entered the international game has been amazing. It doesn't look like she's missed a beat.

She's got incredible athletic ability, a great range and she's also one of the most intelligent members of the team. She's a doctor, so if we've got any medical worries we always go to her for everything.

Eboni Usoro-Brown

Eboni Usoro-Brown

Ebs is another one who's very intelligent, she's a lawyer off the court and she also brings a lot of experience to this squad.

Defenders have to work so hard to get that partnership in the circle singing and sometimes it feels like they've got some sort of sixth sense. They always have to know where the other one is.

Fran Williams

Francesca Williams

Fran is our baby of the group. She's another World Cup debutant at the age of just 21, but she certainly has a mature head on her. She will work her butt off for you and to see a young player with that kind of attitude is amazing.

Off the court she loves a puzzle. We started on the whole jigsaw hype at the Commonwealth Games and since then we've had one every tour. In Liverpool, we've got one with all of our faces on so it's pretty funny trying to find yours.

Geva Mentor

Geva Mentor

G - she's such a calming presence for us on the court and she's a really laid-back individual. It's so great to have a player of Geva's calibre working with someone like Fran, as she's our future.

Geva has lived out in Australia for over 10 years now so she's picked up a bit of an Aussie twang but we're all pleased to hear there's still some English coming through.

Serena Guthrie was speaking to BBC Sport's Louise Gwilliam.

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