Zara Everitt welcomes added pressure of starring Roses role

Zara Everitt

By Ben Hart, Sportsbeat

London Pulse captain Zara Everitt insists she is demanding even more from herself now she is a fully-fledged international star.

The Milton Keynes defender is hoping to consolidate her place in the Vitality Roses side as Jess Thirlby’s squad builds toward next year’s World Cup in South Africa with three matches against Uganda in October.

And having overcome the pressure that comes with representing your country for the first time, Everitt is determined to prove that she does belong on the international stage.

“It’s obviously a step up in expectations in terms of intensity of training and that’s something that I’m really enjoying,” said Everitt, reflecting on her first year in the senior set-up.

“Because I’m now in the Roses full-time, I have higher expectations of myself, in terms of which competitions I’m aiming to be a part of.

“I’m looking forward to building combinations with those players who are already in the main squad and showing I can compete with and against those international players of a higher calibre, and hopefully giving coaches and selectors evidence that I can perform at that level.”

Everitt, who is an Oxford University law graduate, should feel right at home during the series with Uganda, who finished fifth during the summer’s Commonwealth Games, with two fixtures taking place at Pulse’s home venue, the Copper Box arena.

And with the captain and deputy from Birmingham 2022 rested, in Natalie Metcalf and Jo Harten, Everitt could emerge as one of Thirlby’s new leaders.

“I like to lead by example,” said the 22-year-old.

“I’m always someone that puts in 100% effort and is always working hard. I think that’s my main style, just setting the standard and hoping that everyone else is trying to achieve that same standard as well, and everyone is pushing for more each session.

“It’s different at Pulse, because we’ve been such a young cohort, so a lot of the players are my peer group but in a way that makes it easier to lead because we all have the same goals and same ambitions.

“I really enjoy carrying out those leadership roles but there are a lot of leaders in this team as well, and there’s a lot of experience throughout the team even if it’s not at that international level, but across the Superleague.”

For those new to the Roses senior side, Everitt is likely to be a reassuring presence, having been a part of the junior set-up since 2016.

And off the back of Birmingham 2022, where Team England finished fourth, Everitt feels the freshness to the current squad could spark a quick upturn in fortunes.

“I think all of us are eager to prove ourselves on that international stage and we’re all very much aware that opportunities like this don’t come by often, so we’re all keen to grab it with both hands,” she said.

“The Copper Box is a great venue and a lot of the England girls really enjoy playing there. It would be great if we can get a really big crowd in and hopefully the familiarity of that crowd will be something to enjoy as well."

Tickets to see the Vitality Roses in action against Uganda are still available from the England Netball website