Blackpool netball star Eleanor Cardwell hopes 2020 starts as well as 2019 finished after retaining her England place for the coming week's Vitality Nations Cup.
READ MORE: Eleanor Cardwell back home in Blackpool and with Manchester Thunder
The Bispham-based 25-year-old regained her starting place in the national team last November and played a prominent role in England’s Test series triumph in South Africa.
Goal shooter Cardwell also rejoined the Manchester Thunder club last year, helping them to win the Vitality Superleague for the third team.
But despite her outstanding year, Ellie’s selection for the upcoming four-nation tournament was not guaranteed and she had to win through trials just before Christmas.
Cardwell has been named in a squad of 14 for the round-robin competition, which brings matches on Sunday at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena, where England face world champions New Zealand, the following Wednesday at Birmingham Arena (v South Africa) and then on Saturday 25 at Olympic Park in London (v Jamaica).
The league standings will then determine who plays in the final and the third-place play-off the following day at the same venue in the capital.
These will be the first matches on home soil for the England side, known as the Vitality Roses, since claiming bronze at last summer’s World Cup in Liverpool.
It was after that tournament that Jess Thirlby replaced Tracey Neville as head coach and Thirlby said of her Nations Cup squad: “There’s a real blend of talent and experience. It will be a fantastic opportunity to expose many of the newer faces to three of the top five world-ranked teams, and doing so at an almost sold-out home series will be pretty unforgettable.
“We are lucky that we have a lot of players in the Roses programme that are hungry for success and ready to take on this challenge, many of whom have already benefited in the lead up to this series from a tour to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa during a jam-packed international window. We can’t wait to see the Roses fans out in force once again for what is going to be a thrilling series.”
With 12 of the 14 squad members to be named for each match, former Blackpool Netball Club player Cardwell is hopeful of adding to her 23 caps.
She developed her skills at school in Blackpool with St Bernadette’s Primary and St Mary’s High.