Richmond hockey starlet Holly Munro named in England squad heading to Chile

After winning European bronze at the Under-18 European Hockey Championships in the summer, Richmond hockey starlet Holly Munro now has the chance to show off her talents on the world stage.

The 18-year-old, now studying psychology at the University of Birmingham, has been named in England’s squad heading to Chile later this month to take part in the Under 21 World Cup.

And having only recently overcome a knee injury that ruled her out of the opening weeks of the season, Munro is thankful to head coach Mike Keegan for showing faith in her.

“I hoped I was in with a chance, but I was injured at the beginning of this season, so I’m so excited to be given this opportunity,” said Munro, who benefits from being part of the SSE Next Generation programme.

“It’s so exciting, I can’t wait, I’ve never been to Chile before, or even South America. It’s a chance to broaden our horizons, and our first match is 8pm on the first night, against Chile, so the atmosphere will be great – it will be something I won’t have experienced before so it’s something to look forward to.

“I strained my lateral collateral ligament in my knee, so I’ve been working really hard on my rehab, trying to get my fitness back up.

“I started training again in the last three weeks and since then I’ve been working really hard.

“But I’ve been really lucky, the physio and strength and conditioning support at Birmingham Uni has been amazing. They’ve managed to get me back up and running quite quickly, back to full fitness.”

Munro’s injury meant she missed out on the Five Nations junior tournament in Valencia last month, but the extra time at home allowed the student to continue her transition into university life.

Having left her Richmond home in the summer to start the next stage of her life in Birmingham, the hockey player is pleased with how things have gone.

“Uni has been a big change,” she admitted. “I’m quite a home girl, but it has been amazing and I am loving my course.

“The transition has gone really well. Birmingham is such an amazing uni and the hockey has been great since I have been back.

“It was quite hard to start with, the transition of being in a new environment with new people, but I’m absolutely loving it now and this selection tops it all off because there are nine Birmingham girls in this squad.

“Which is massive credit to them, and to us I guess.”

The tournament runs from November 24 to December 4, with the 16 best junior women’s sides in the world fighting for the title.

England begin their campaign against the home side, before facing Australia and South Africa in their remaining pool matches.

And despite his squad’s relative inexperience, Keegan is backing his side to compete on the global stage.

“We’re taking a very talented team. It is a very young team but what we lack in experience we make up for in the ability this group has,” he said.

“We are aiming to teach the players what it takes to compete at international level and a tournament of this prestige and this quality is the perfect place to do that.

“We want to compete and we are aiming to get to the quarter finals. After that, who knows what might happen?”

SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen

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