England captain Serena Guthrie says winning World Cup will be a fitting send-off for Tracey Neville
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By Dan Sansom
Last Updated: 12/06/19 9:09am
England captain Serena Guthrie says winning the Netball World Cup will be a fitting send-off for head coach Tracey Neville.
Neville has been in charge of England's national side for the past four years and under her leadership they achieved gold medal success at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the nation's highest-ever ranking.
She will take some time away from the game to focus on her personal life after the World Cup in Liverpool and Guthrie, who has been named as captain for the tournament, says it gives the team extra motivation to do well.
"Tracey's great and the team support her 120 per cent in terms of this decision," she said. "What Tracey really wants us to do is to get this news out of the way and just get focused on what we need to do.
"It's a massive change and she will be massively missed but she and we understand the job at hand and we're focused on that.
"It's the end of a four-year cycle and there's probably going to be a lot of changes throughout world netball after this and I think for us it is an extra motivator, not that we need any extra motivation but it is something that adds to it."
England finished third in the last two World Cups, in 2011 and 2015, and achieved their best result in 1975 when they were runners-up.
Guthrie, who made her debut against Malawi in 2008, believes Australia are the favourites for the tournament but is still confident that England can go all the way.
"We're not really thinking of ourselves as the favourites," Guthrie added. "We're just looking forward to getting good preparation in, ready to go and ready to take on these other nations because we've got a feeling this is going to be the toughest World Cup yet.
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"I think we can win the World Cup. Why not us? That's a question we've been asking ourselves. Forget the history, we are where we are now, we've broken the mould once so why can't we dare to dream and do it again?"
Neville: Guthrie a 'beautiful person'
Guthrie first took on the role of captain last year, filling in for regular skipper Ama Agbeze, but has now been chosen to lead England in their first home World Cup since 1995, and Neville described the moment she told the 29-year-old.
"With Serena she probably underestimates herself more than anybody else and in our eyes she's a world-class player, a beautiful person and she's so valuable as a team member," Neville said.
"She was quite emotional and quite shocked about it and I think having known Serena for the time I have since being head coach I know that there's many questions forming in her head.
"At the time I just said 'celebrate this, go and enjoy it, I've just told you're going to be the England captain, the questions can come later when you've had time to come to terms with it. Go and tell your family and the people who you spend a long time away from'. That was really important to me for her to be able to go and do that."
Watch every match of the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup live on Sky Sports. Coverage starts on Friday, July 12 plus keep up to date with all of the latest competition news, results and enjoy in-depth features at SkySports.com/netball