England U21s Millie Sanders steps up from training partner to a member of the Manchester Thunder first team squad for the 2022 season

Millie Sanders Manchester Thunder

Twenty-year-old Millie Sanders made her debut for Manchester Thunder last season, after being a part of the Thunder performance pathway for many years. Offering both goal defence and goal keeper positions, Sanders was one of eight Thunder players that was selected for the England U21 long squad in 2021 for the World Youth Cup in Fiji.

When asked about getting her first cap for Manchester Thunder, Sanders said:

“It was quite surreal. I never expected to get picked to play, so when they passed me the bib to go on, I was just so shocked, and I think all my adrenalin was just going. When I got on, the fans were just so amazing, and it gave me that lift and confidence.”

“If I’m being honest, the five minutes that I played in the Superleague was harder than a whole game at U21s. I don’t know whether that was because of the adrenalin, but it was just a big step up with so much more experienced players, and players that I’m not used to playing against. So, it was like stepping in to the unknown, and trying different things.”

“I was so shocked about getting a full-time contract. I was questioning whether I would even get to be a training partner this season, so when they told me I was in the 12 [first team squad] I thought they were joking. So, it is a dream come true for me.”

“I think I bring good energy to the team, and help bring everyone together. This year, we have definitely all grown closer, and I’m really excited to get to know everyone even better than I already do.”

“One of the most exciting things about next season will be getting to meet everyone. I can’t wait to play at Belle Vue [Thunder’s home venue] when it’s really loud with the celebrations, I think that is one of the most exciting and rewarding things about being a player.”

Karen Greig, Manchester Thunder Head Coach, said:

“When we called Millie to offer her a full-time contract it was the most exciting call we made. She is a super enthusiastic athlete who is there for everyone and she is so passionate about Thunder. Having made her debut last season as a Training partner, it is great to be able to reward Millie for being an invaluable member of our squad. A dogged defender, she never gives a shooter a minute to settle. I am looking forward to seeing her push on further this season and see how she can develop with more court time around club / U21s and VNSL.”