Gabe Olaseni has returned to Great Britain’s squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers.

The Spain-based centre, who was a late withdrawal from the line-up for November’s international window due to a neck injury, has been named in a 12-man squad for the away trips to Israel and Greece with London Lions guard Justin Robinson also back for the first time in five years.

“That’s huge for us,” coach Tony Garbelotto said. “He’s been playing well for London, he runs the team, he’s shooting well and he’s got international experience. To to add Justin is a big deal.”

Myles Hesson had already been ruled out through a season-ending tibia injury, Ryan Richards, who had signalled interest in making his GB comeback, is not yet recovered from shoulder surgery while Kofi Josephs and Carl Wheatle have been omitted.

“Carl’s Italian club asked if he could stay with them in this window because they have some big games including in the Cup,” Garbelotto confirmed. “With Kofi, we felt with a few additions, he might sit out or be the 13th guy. Because we go straight to Israel for camp, we didn’t want to take extra players out. But he’s still available on stand-by if we need him.”

GB are 0-2 in their group following losses to the Greeks and Estonia last November.

“We were pleased with how we competed in those first games in the last window, but we were obviously disappointed to have ended up dropping two games that we could have won,” stated Garbelotto.

“Our main aim coming out of that opening window was to consolidate and strengthen in terms of our roster and I think we have now done that with the likes of Gabe [Olaseni] and Justin [Robinson] coming in.

“Even with the disappointment of Myles [Hesson] missing out through injury, I feel very strongly that this is one of the better groups we have assembled since London 2012.

“I’m excited, since I think that as a group, we have the capacity to really challenge Israel and Greece. We can’t wait for the games to come.”

Squad: Kieron Achara, Gareth Murray (Glasgow Rocks), Justin Robinson (London Lions), Eric Boateng (Saint Vallier), Dan Clark (Gipuzkoa), Andrew Lawrence (Scafati), Luke Nelson (Real Betis), Teddy Okereafor (Kymis), Gabe Olaseni (Fuenlabrada), Tarik Phillip (Unattached), Will Saunders (Cambados), Ovie Soko (Murcia)

Great Britain will play against Israel at midday on Friday 23 February in Tel Aviv and then face Greece in Heraklion at 4pm on Sunday 25. The players will head into camp on Monday 19 February in Tel Aviv.

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