It has been quite a 12 months for netball coach Tracey Neville, leaving Manchester Thunder to take over the England team, first on a temporary basis and then permanently after guiding the Roses to a bronze medal at the World Cup.
But on the eve of a three-match Test series with world number one side Australia next month, the Bury-born coach believes she is starting to finally find her feet on the international stage.
Already a successful player herself, winning bronze at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998 and accumulating 81 caps in total, Neville has been carving out a name for herself in the coaching world in recent years.
Superleague titles arrived with the Thunder in 2012 and 2014 and when the call came in March to replace outgoing England head coach Anna Mayes on an interim basis, Neville was unable to turn it down.
It was still a decision that the 38-year-old mulled over however, questioning whether she was too young to take on the role.
But after seeing her side beat rivals Jamaica to clinch bronze at the World Cup in Australia this summer, Neville believes she and the team are on the right path.
“I would say it’s been a huge rollercoaster for me this year and I don’t feel like that rollercoaster is ending soon,” she said.
“I was sad to leave Manchester Thunder at the time, I do feel like I’m a little bit too young to take on the position as England coach.
“I’ve got a massive development in respect of my future and where I want to be.
“However I think that I am now ready to take on this role. For me, it’s about setting the standard.
“And at the moment, I’ve only been in officially the job two months so I’m trying to set the scene, see what’s going on, what needs to be changed, what influence I can get from my support team underneath me and putting the best programme in place.
“We’ve got Australia coming into January, they’re the world number one team and we’re at the development stage of our programme at the moment so there’s some new faces getting out on court.
“The next few months is about setting the standard, looking at where we’re at, where we want to be and looking into that World Cup in Liverpool in 2019.”
Neville was speaking after attending Tuesday’s 2015 UK Coaching Awards at Manchester’s Midland Hotel where she was nominated for the High Performance Coach of the Year Award.
She would eventually lose out to England and Great Britain hockey coach Danny Kerry although she was quick to point out the effort of coaches all over the country.
“It’s a real pleasure to have the UK Coaching Awards here on my home turf in Manchester,” she added.
“English netball is really moving up and has a really sustainable programme, we’re really getting kids involved and it’s about participation and development across the country.
“I’m proud to see we’re bringing out the fun side of the game and I think that’s something that can be forgotten at a high performance level.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to be paid for something that I love but there are many thousands of people out there who volunteer putting in as much work as I do and they do that because of their love of their sport.”
The UK Coaching Awards 2015, hosted by sports coach UK is a chance to recognise excellent coaching and coaching organisations that have achieved outstanding success over the past 12 months. For more information visit:www.sportscoachuk.org