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Hallam leads England's thee-match challenge in Germany

TRACEY HALLAM will play her first international match since her ankle operation in September after being named in the England squad to face Germany in Bremen, Dessau and Berlin on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.


The Commonwealth champion, who won the Romania International last weekend and reached the quarter-finals of the Finland International this weekend, is the most experienced player in an England squad forced into last-minute changes from the team which beat Germany 3-2 in the Yonex International in Preston at the end of February.


Rajiv Ouseph is the only survivor from that team and he will be looking to avenge his straight-games defeat by Bjoern Joppien, who will play the Bremen and Berlin matches. Ouseph will share the singles duties with English National runner-up Nathan Rice, who is set to make his England debut.


Hallam will be joined in women’s singles by Jill Pittard, who reached the semi-finals of the Finnish International before losing to one of Germany’s key players, Juliane Schenk.


Yorkshire doubles prospect Robin Middleton is also set for his senior debut as the team flies out on Monday.


The strong German squad for the three internationals includes Bjoern Joppien, Juliane Schenk and Nicole Grether, Xu Huaiwen, Michael Fuchs and Kristof Hopp – all of whom played in the match in Preston.


England, who will wear their new Yonex team strip for the three contests, already have a large contingent of players heading for Germany this week as the junior squad tackle the European Junior Championships’ team and individual events in Saarbrucken.


Squad to face Germany:-

Chris Langridge (Surrey, 5 caps)
Robin Middleton  (Yorkshire, 0 caps)
Rajiv Ouseph (Middx, 8 caps)
Nathan Rice (Bucks, 0 caps)
Kristian Roebuck (Derbyshire, 4 caps)
Chris Tonks (Warks, 1 cap)

Tracey Hallam (Staffs, 70 caps)
Natalie Munt (Herts, 16 caps)
Joanne Nicholas (Lancs, 31 caps)
Jill Pittard (Warks, 11 caps)
Suzane Rayappan (Herts, 8 caps)
Jenny Wallwork (Yorks, 3 caps)

Team Manager: Julian Robertson   Physiotherapist: Perry Williams


The German squad is:

Men: Bjoern Joppien, Roman Spitko, Michael Fuchs, Ingo Kindervater, Kristof Hopp, Jochen Cassel. Women: Xu Huaiwen, Juliane Schenk, Birgit Overzier, Kathrin Piotrowki, Nicole Grether.

Coaches: Detlef Poste (for Bremen) and Jeroen van Dijk (for Dessau and Berlin).