Zach Wallace is one of the youngest members of the Great Britain men’s squad. The midfielder made his debut for the senior England team in 2018, in a test match against Belgium, before bursting onto the stage with some energetic performances in the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup in Bhubaneswar. Since then, the 20 year-old has been a mainstay of the team, playing in all the England and Great Britain FIH Pro League fixtures. He was nominated for the FIH Rising Star award in 2019.
Who influenced you to pick up a stick and get into hockey?
Zach Wallace: It was my dad who influenced me to get into hockey. He used to be a pretty good player himself so when I was younger I would go to watch his games. I would be messing around with a stick and a ball at the side of the pitch.
Who are your role models within the game?
Zach Wallace: Firstly it would be my dad. When I was really young he was my coach for the first few years I played hockey. In more recent times, Mark Pearn has been the influence on me. He has coached me at Surbiton (English National League team) for the past four or five seasons now and he is one of the main reasons I have developed into being an international player in the past few years.
Can you sum up your playing style?
Zach Wallace: Just going for it and not over-thinking things.
What is your standout moment on the pitch?
Zach Wallace: One moment that stands out for me in my short international career so far is the 2018 World Cup quarter final against Argentina. We had a very young team and they were reigning Olympic champions so favourites for the game. But we stuck together and came out as 3-2 winners which was a huge result for us as a team. But there is a lot more to come from me and hopefully some memorable moments to be made.
How has the transition from U21 to senior been for you?
Zach Wallace: I found the step-up from U21 to senior really enjoyable. I tend to be someone who takes things in my stride so I have enjoyed every moment of stepping up from U21 to the seniors.The one thing that stands out is the pace of the game. You have a bit less time to think, a bit less time on the ball so you have to be sharper with everything that you do.
How has the Covid-19 situation affected you in the past few weeks and what things have the squad been doing to stay connected?
Zach Wallace: It has not been ideal for preparations for Tokyo [Olympic Games 2021] but we are a close group so we have been having Zoom calls and Facebook meetings, just keeping up to date and seeing what everyone is up to. We have just been trying to keep it as fun as possible really. It is not the best situation so we don’t want to put a massive emphasis on performance right now, so we are keeping it light-hearted and just keep things ticking over until we go back. I am lucky as I live with a couple of guys in the squad so we have kept it quite competitive when we have been doing training and gym, just to keep it fun.
What are you looking forward to as the lockdown restrictions ease?
Zach Wallace: I am definitely looking forward to just being with the squad on the trips abroad. I’m looking forward to playing some tough competitive games. I am one of those players who prefers games over training so the sooner we can get back on the pitch the better.
Profile*: Zach Wallace – England and Great Britain
Shirt number: 32
International appearances: 42
Place of birth: England
You can follow Zach on Twitter and on Instagram * Information correct as of 9 June 2020.