TEAM ENGLAND have gone for a blend of youth and experience in their squad to compete in the European Mixed Team Badminton Championships in Russia next month.
Commonwealth silver medallist Rajiv Ouseph is the most capped player in the 13-strong squad with 46 appearances, while doubles star Jenny Wallwork is looking to add to her 38 caps as she finally returns from a lengthy injury lay-off.
Team England, who are supported by Center Parcs, also have 2011 world mixed doubles silver medallist Chris Adcock (26 caps) in their ranks as they look to improve on their bronze medal in Amsterdam two years ago when they compete in Ramenskoye, just outside Moscow, from February 12-17.
The squad also includes promising all-rounder Sarah Milne, who is set to make her senior England debut at the Championships. Milne has already made her mark at junior level, having notably finished fourth in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010.
Lauren Smith and Toby Penty, who at 20 is the youngest player in the 13, are the other rookies in the squad, having just one cap and two caps respectively but they both had the experience of playing at the 2011 World Championships at Wembley Arena and also represented England at the 2012 European Championships in Karlskrona, Sweden.
Performance director Jens Grill said: “We have a young and exciting squad and I look forward to seeing how they perform in Moscow next month and what they will go on to achieve in the future.
“Sarah and Toby represent the future for Team England and we are looking to more experienced players like Rajiv and Jenny to help them cope with the very different pressures of team competition compared with individual tournaments.
“We are glad to have Jenny back on court after her long lay-off and we also think Andy Ellis will be fully fit following his knee injury in Korea.”
Top seeds Denmark remain the team to beat as the holders and 13-times winners. The last time five-time winners England were in the final was in Liverpool in 2009 when they pushed the Danes all the way before losing 3-2 in a clash which went down to the final contest.
Ouseph, Wallwork, Adcock and Ellis are the only Team England players to have been part of both the silver and bronze medal squads in 2009 and 2011.
Team England are the seeds in Group 4 and take on Latvia and Lithuania. The eight group winners will go into the knockout quarter-finals on February 15 when England should face the winners of Group 7, where two-time champions Sweden take on Belarus, Belgium and Ukraine.
The full Team England squad is as follows:
Men: Chris Adcock, Andrew Ellis, Marcus Ellis, Chris Langridge, Peter Mills, Rajiv Ouseph, Toby Penty.
Women: Sarah Milne, Heather Olver, Lauren Smith, Sarah Walker, Jenny Wallwork, Gabrielle White.