Tracey Neville missing England Roses as South Africa Tests arrive
"At the start, I felt that I needed that break, now a little bit of jealousy has hit in!"
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 29/11/19 3:01pm
Tracey Neville admitted there will be a hint of jealousy as she prepares to watch on as an England Roses side commence their first international series in South Africa without her.
The 42-year-old made the decision to step away from her role as head coach earlier this year to focus on her personal life.
She ended her highly successful tenure by leading them to bronze at a home World Cup in Liverpool and added that to the Commonwealth Games gold medal that they achieved on the Gold Coast the year prior.
Neville first represented England as an athlete in 1993. After achieving 81 international caps, and then grounding herself within the world of coaching, she took over as the Roses' head coach back in October 2015.
With such a long-standing relationship and affiliation to netball, it's no wonder that seeing the Roses preparing for Test matches without her, feels a little strange.
"At the start, I felt that I needed that break, now a little bit of jealousy has hit in!" Neville said to Sky Sports News at the Sports Journalist Association awards where she received the JL Manning Award for Services to Sport.
"I don't think that it is a case of leading the team again, it's more not being a part of the Roses and part of the team - particularly now that they're going into competition this weekend."
I always said that I wanted to be part of the team again and part of the culture with the Roses. I’ve been an athlete since I was 19-years-old so the investment that I’ve given to the governing body is huge. However, I don’t know when that time will be.
Despite sharing those understandable feelings of 'jealousy', a glowing Neville is delighting in her pregnancy and is continuing to keep in touch with netball in other ways.
"To come out of the sport I feel a little bit like Mona Lisa," Neville added.
"You feel like your sport has ended then to be recognised by the public and other governing bodies [with awards], I'm just so proud that I can still represent the Roses as I am doing.
"It's difficult to get an individual award, particularly when you're from a team sport because usually you're up there with the players, staff members and there are a lot of people that invest in that particular win and success.
"So, thank you to everyone that's supported me and I'm just so proud to be representing the Roses still."
Test Series Fixtures - All will be streamed on YouTube too
|November 29||South Africa vs England||4.30pm on Sky Sports Mix, Arena & Main Event|
|November 30||South Africa vs England||12.30pm on Sky Sports Mix & Arena|
|December 1||South Africa vs England||10:30am on Sky Sports Mix|
Neville will be part of our coverage on Sky Sports for England's second Test match in South Africa. The match will be live from 12.30pm on Saturday on Sky Sports Arena and Mix and will be streamed worldwide on YouTube.
Before then, with such a famous sporting family, a big question is what sport will her new little boy or girl play? Football? Netball? Something else?
"If it's a boy, then I'm going to have to start advocating for men's netball a little bit more and if it's a girl, hopefully she can follow in my footsteps!
"I think that there's a lot of competition [within the family]," she added.
"Obviously when I started out, netball was probably bigger than women's football. Now, with the investment in women's football and the profile that it's got, I think that I'll be in competition with my other brother as well about where this little baby goes [sports wise]."
Sky Sports is your home of netball and live action returns with the Roses' three-Test tour to South Africa. The first Test from the Velodrome in Cape Town will be shown on Friday at 5.00pm and will be streamed worldwide on YouTube.