England Netball has announced a 12-player squad for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games ©England Netball

England netball head coach Jess Thirlby believes her players will have the physical and mental robustness to secure a second successive Commonwealth Games crown after naming a 12-strong squad for Birmingham 2022.

Natalie Metcalf has been confirmed as skipper with Jo Harten selected as vice-captain as England aim to retain their netball title on home soil.

They are two of seven players in the squad that were part of the gold medal-winning team at Gold Coast 2018, along with Jade Clarke, Beth Cobden, Helen Housby, Geva Mentor and Eboni Usoro-Brown.

Vastly-experienced Stacey Francis-Bayman returns having featured at Delhi 2010 where England earned bronze, while Commonwealth Games debutants Eleanor Cardwell, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Layla Guscoth and Laura Malcolm complete the squad.

England have also named Imogen Alison, Funmi Fadoju, George Fisher and Hannah Joseph as reserve players.

"With 925 caps between them and 21 Commonwealth Games appearances we can take real confidence from the experience in the team," said Thirlby.

"What’s even more exciting is to see Commonwealth Games debutants such as Layla, Laura, Eleanor and Sophie who I know will add great energy to the team and have benefitted from increased international exposure in recent seasons readying them for the task at hand.

"The squad allows us the positional coverage and diversity to be able to counteract any of our toughest opposition and as important a consideration is ensuring we have the robustness both physically and mentally to sustain and elevate our performance levels over a 10-day tournament and the unique conditions that presents.

"Every single player knows what finals netball looks like and what’s required with many coming off the back of those within their domestic seasons both home and overseas which is invaluable.

"With those experiences we can continue to build momentum in our final prep and the collective leadership across this 12 is outstanding and one of our greatest strengths.

"We look forward to playing in another big tournament and representing our fans on home soil so soon after Liverpool in 2019, something unlikely to happen again in our lifetimes and one which we are not taking for granted."

England claimed a last-gasp victory over Australia to win netball gold for the first time at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images
England claimed a last-gasp victory over Australia to win netball gold for the first time at Gold Coast 2018 ©Getty Images

Housby netted in the dying seconds as England stunned hosts Australia 52-51 to claim netball gold for the first time at Gold Coast 2018 - an achievement the team will be hoping to repeat in Birmingham.

"To have the opportunity, on home soil to defend the title that was won so memorably on the Gold Coast is hugely exciting for everyone involved," said David Parsons, performance director at England Netball.

"The four years since 2018 has seen the introduction of some very talented young athletes alongside their more experienced and celebrated teammates to give a really balanced squad going into the Games.

"And with an impressive set of results and performances in recent months, there’s a confidence and a belief that the team can compete with the best in the world."

The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham is scheduled to stage the netball competition from July 29 to August 7.

England have been drawn in Group B alongside world champions New Zealand, Malawi, Uganda, Trinidad and Tobago and Northern Ireland.