By Milly McEvoy, Sportsbeat
Olivia Tchine knows a young squad should not be underestimated – and insists she is ready to prove it once again with England.
The 21-year-old from New Cross was part of the youthful London Pulse side who reached the Vitality Netball Superleague play-offs for the first time in their history earlier this year.
And she has now earned a maiden call-up to the Vitality Roses as they prepare to take on Uganda in a three-match Test series.
She said: “I feel like with Pulse, we did really well in showing that just because we're young doesn't mean we can't do what the older girls are doing.
🇺🇬 Vitality Netball International Series vs. Uganda
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See who @JessThirlby has selected 👇
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“And with this series, yes, we're really young but we also do have the older generation who can bring down their knowledge.
“As a shooter, having Ellie Cardwell there who was at Commonwealths, and has also played Uganda before, just learning stuff off of her. And she's not old, she's young, but still has that knowledge and experience.
“Pulse were young, but we still came third in the league, fourth overall, we still beat a lot of the older girls so we can definitely do it again.
“We've got more energy because we are young!”
Tchine is joined by Pulse teammates Funmi Fadoju, Zara Everitt and Ellie Rattu as well as new recruit Chelsea Pitman in the 15-strong squad as head coach Jess Thirlby looks to the future.
With those familiar faces, and the final two matches of the series at the Copper Box Arena, London Pulse’s home, the step up to international level may not feel so big.
Tchine added: “We all want the same thing whether it's at Pulse or, England, and we just want to be the best.
“So being able to represent Pulse like that and being a London team, representing London as well, it's just an amazing feeling.
“It kind of eases it a bit for us as well because having Ellie there who I play with at Pulse and have that connection, we can just bring it from Pulse into England.
“It means a lot to be playing at the Copper Box, it is our home. I just can't wait for it to start to be honest.”
It is not just the experienced England players Tchine will hope to learn from – she will also be taking notes from Uganda’s shooters.
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Proscovia Peace topped the scoring charts in the league this season after her She Cranes teammate Cholhok had come out on top in 2021.
“I've got Peace, who's top scorer but she's also just solid and just so strong, the same thing with Mary,” Tchine explained.
“Being able to pick up some stuff in terms of their holds, the way they might move around a defender, and then use that against their own defenders, hopefully, to allow me to beat them.
“I'm always trying to learn different styles off the best shooters out there, I feel like that's just one of the best ways to learn, watching and doing what they're doing.”
Tickets to see the Vitality Roses in action against Uganda are still available from the England Netball website