Missing out on a World Cup is heart-breaking but England lacrosse star Torz Anderson believes the pain she suffered four years ago is the best thing that ever happened to her.
The 22-year-old was a travelling reserve four years ago and could only watch on as England finished fourth.
But ahead of this year’s FIL Rathbones Lacrosse World Cup on home soil in Guildford both Anderson and her country have points to prove.
England are yet to rule the world, with USA winning seven of the nine World Cups so far, but there is a feeling that is their best chance yet – with a mixture of wise heads and future stars creating a perfect squad blend.
Head coach Phil Collier is yet to decide on his 18-strong squad for the tournament, with seven still be axed from his current training squad.
But Anderson, who lives in Isleworth, is doubly determined to make the cut this year and show how far she has come.
“I was a reserve last time round. I was quite young, I was 19. It still hurt, I’d trained for four years like everybody else,” said the former Loughborough University student.
“I think in a roundabout way, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me realise that I have so much more to give.
“I have another four years to not just make the team but have a big driving impact on the team and not just be a player on the pitch but know that I’m contributing towards the success of the team.
“I’m playing my part in helping drive the team forwards. It was really upsetting at the time but it definitely motivated me because this time I’ve given absolutely everything and if I don’t make it then I know I’ve done the best I can.”
England have been a consistent threat in every World Cup, with two silver medals and three bronze medals, but back-to-back fourth-placed finishes has left a deep hunger in the squad to rewrite the history books.
They open up their campaign against bitter rivals Scotland and Wales, but it is clashes against lacrosse powerhouses USA, Canada and Australia that will be prove to the true acid test.
England beat Australia in a three-Test series last summer and have just returned from a successful trip to the States as they warm-up for a crucial friendly against Japan next week.
And Anderson is adamant something special is building this year and feels there is a collective belief they can make the final – and even secure gold.
“I think the mentality is different this time,” she added.
“We want to make the final, we’re not scared of saying that anymore. I think previously an England team might have been, but we know that we can make the final.
“On any given day, who knows what will happen, but that’s what we’re aiming for. I think there’s a really good feeling in camp that we’re going to get there.
“Home advantage is what you make it. If we can get as many England supporters down as we can, that will help keep driving us forwards and keep us energised and raring to go.”
The FIL Rathbones Women’s World Lacrosse Cup takes place at Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, 12-22 July 2017.
Tickets on sale at www.2017worldlacrosse.com