A TEENAGE hockey player from Tonbridge has been called up to join the Under-16 England Girls squad.
Georgia Whitaker, who is enjoying a strong run of form for the Tunbridge Wells Ladies First XI this season, was elated to be told that she had been picked for the national set-up.
The 15-year-old said: “I was excited to learn that I had been given the call-up to the Under-16s squad. I have been playing for the Tunbridge Wells Juniors since I was 11, and I am now in the senior team.
“I want to be out there wearing an England shirt but I know that there’s a long way to go,” added Georgia, who is currently studying at Kent College in Pembury.
She earned her place in the squad having impressed as player of the tournament for the Under-16 Saxon Lions at the Futures Cup.
The four-day tournament last month featured the strongest young hockey talent from England, Wales and Scotland.
Georgia’s father Andy Whitaker, who coaches the Tunbridge Wells Under-16 Girls’ team, and mother Janet, captain of the Ladies Second XI, have been particularly impressed with her rapid progress through the ranks.
Andy said: “We’ve been very proud of Georgia, and I’m sure what she has done has had more to do with playing with her mum than my coaching.
“We have had so many people come up and congratulate her on making the England Girls’ squad. It is nice the whole hockey community is behind her.”
He added that Georgia had proved her ability playing for the senior side this season, and said that in joining up with the England squad, she would be in contention for upcoming international games next spring against the likes of Germany and Belgium.
There has also been further good news for the club, as 14-year-old Alex Sacker, who plays for Tunbridge Wells Juniors, has been invited to attend England Hockey’s two-day elite performance academy, which could see her following in Georgia’s footsteps next year.