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Sport Q&A with Serena Guthrie

The England Roses skipper leads the hosts in the opening match of the World Cup today, against Uganda in Liverpool

How did it feel to be named captain by coach Tracey Neville?

It’s a massive honour. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to play at a home World Cup, let alone as captain. I just feel very privileged Tracey thinks I’m capable of being the one to lead the team. I’m so excited.

Your predecessor Ama Agbeze didn’t make the squad. Do you have some sympathy for her?

We’re a really close group. Everyone is disappointed, Ama included. This is the pinnacle – a home World Cup.

You think England can lift the trophy on July 21?

I really do. We have a team of genuine contenders who are in really great form. We’ve done it, [at the Commonwealth Games] last year, why not again?

How big has the game got in the UK since England’s Commonwealth gold?

It’s gone through the roof! We’re in people’s thoughts – we’ve never been in that position before. Everyone has been buzzing about netball. It was only when we finished playing in Australia that we realised people had been getting up at 5am to watch.

Has the team evolved successfully since that?

In my opinion we have in terms of results. Once everyone had celebrated the gold, we had to evolve and move on quickly.

How big will home advantage be and who are your rivals, aside from Australia?

To step out in front of our fans, there has to be some advantage. Jamaica are in there, South Africa, you can’t write off.