England have banished their Commonwealth Games heartbreak and a new squad has been assembled with one theme running through it – togetherness, says Imogen Allison, writes Milly McEvoy.
The 24-year-old Team Bath star was a late call-up for Birmingham 2022, replacing the injured Beth Cobden as the Vitality Roses just missed out on a medal in fourth.
Now, Allison is one of the more experienced heads in the 15-strong squad for England’s Vitality Netball International Series with Uganda which kicks off in Nottingham on 5 October.
“We've done it together and that's what's really important,” the mid-courter said as she explained how England had dealt with the disappointment of Birmingham.
“We're a team that really thrive off being together and having fun and although we were really disappointed with the result, we got together and we've got to remember that it wasn't all bad.
Vitality Roses 🤝 Future Roses
Brilliant to have everyone training together as preparations for the upcoming international series continue 💪 pic.twitter.com/m0RTqQqDME
— England Netball (@EnglandNetball) September 21, 2022
“We had some really good performances and there's a lot to take away from the games that we played at the Commies.
“There is a lot of learnings to take into the Uganda series, so we just stuck together and went through the process together and took away what we could.”
Five players could make their debuts in the three Test series against the She Cranes, including Allison’s Team Bath teammate Natasha Pavelin.
With Uganda ranked two places below England at sixth in the world, it is a chance for the newer faces to gain experience against one of the emerging forces in netball.
She added: “As a new team coming together for this series, I think we're just hoping to work together and put together some good performances.
“And obviously we're hoping to win as the Roses squads always do every time they go on a series. But just put together some good performances, perform together, and enjoy it.”
🇺🇬 Vitality Netball International Series vs. Uganda
🇦🇺 Australia Series
🌍 Fast5 World Series
As @NetballWorldCup preparations step up, some new faces are set to take to the international stage for the Vitality Roses in the coming months 🌹
See who @JessThirlby has selected 👇
— England Netball (@EnglandNetball) September 20, 2022
Allison captained Team Bath to the Vitality Netball Superleague play-offs this year in her first full season in the role and will be back at the helm in 2023.
The West Yorkshire native has donned the blue and gold of Team Bath since 2017, having previously played for Yorkshire Jets before making her England debut in 2020.
As one of four VNSL captains in the Roses squad, Allison is looking forward to learning the others’ leadership styles – describing her own as focussing on fun.
“I don't really know what kind of captain I am,” the British Fast5 Netball All-Stars Championship winner said.
“I'm not very bossy, or authoritative. But I just want to bring the best out of everyone.
“I want everyone to have fun because I just think if everyone's having fun then the netball comes with it and everyone in your team is a great player and brings something different so just bringing the best out of them that's what I try and do.”
Tickets to see the Vitality Roses in action against Uganda are still available from the England Netball website