Bright futures

The North of England Futures Squad, which has produced some of the region’s most talented girls in recent years including England internationals Jess Baker and Rosie Belsham, has been announced for 2018/19.

This year, 10 girls make up the training squad and they will be coached by England Regional Squad coach JJ Vallely and managed by England Regional Squad manager Bryan Ross.

JJ, who meets with the girls one day per month throughout the winter, said: “We held our first session in October and the girls all showed a fantastic commitment to working on their game and improving. This year’s Futures squad is the largest we’ve ever had and there is a great mix of girls at different stages, from the ages of 8-17.

“This is an exciting time for the programme as it goes into its fifth year while six Futures graduates make up the England Regional Squad and two more Futures girls have made it into the full England squad – all of which is tremendous recognition for the work the girls put in as part of the programme and in their own time.”

The Futures Squad has seen a number of players progress through to the England Regional Squad looked after by JJ and Bryan. This year’s regional squad includes Futures graduates Maggie Whitehead, Zara Naughton, Faye Wheatley, Libby Bell, Abbie Roper and Harriet Barker.