EDP graduates making their mark

Waller
The Great Britain Elite Development Programme (EDP) was launched in October 2017 as part of a strategic objective during the Tokyo 2020 cycle to accelerate the development of future medal winning Olympians.

And despite being just over a year old, the programme has already had plenty of success with several players progressing to playing for the senior men’s and women’s teams at the Men’s Hockey World Cup and in the brand new FIH Pro League.

Jack Waller has quickly become a mainstay in the Great Britain senior squad since progressing through the EDP programme and made his international debut against Belgium in October 2018 before featuring at the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup. With four Great Britain and 13 England caps to his name, the young defender has featured in both of GB’s opening FIH Pro League matches and hasn’t looked out of place as the team recorded back to back wins. Such has been his impact on the side, Waller was recently named as part of Great Britain and England’s leadership group, the youngest player taking on a leadership role in the new structure.

Zach Wallace is another player making a mark on the men’s senior team, featuring in all of Great Britain’s FIH Pro League matches and scoring a vital goal in the first game against Belgium to help spark a remarkable comeback. Like Waller, 19-year-old Wallace made his debut at the Toshiba Anniversary International against Belgium in October 2018 and also appeared at the 2018 Hockey Men’s World Cup and has made five Great Britain and eight England appearances so far.

Midfielder Rhys Smith also made his Great Britain debut against Belgium in October 2018 before earning a place in the men’s FIH Pro League opening squad to face Spain away from home. The 21-year-old featured in that game and helped Great Britain to a memorable victory. 

In the women’s set-up, 20-year-old Tess Howard’s first senior international involvement came in the 2018 Women’s Champions Trophy as she featured for Great Britain in every game. She put in several impressive performances, scoring against Japan, and was also part of the team that faced New Zealand in the women’s first FIH Pro League match in February 2019.

Lizzie Neal joined the senior programme in January 2019 and made her senior international debut for Great Britain’s women at the first opportunity, also featuring in their opening FIH Pro League match against New Zealand. She showed early signs of her attacking quality too as she came within inches of finding the net in a promising performance.

While those five have all progressed from the system, several players currently part of the set-up have also been named in the squads for Great Britain’s opening FIH Pro League games.

Nottingham University’s Josh Pavis was also included in the squad to face New Zealand and Australia and could make his senior international debut against the latter this weekend.

Scotland international Lee Morton was also selected for the tour of Oceania and featured in the emphatic win over the Black Sticks, having made his Great Britain debut against Belgium in June 2018.

Holly Hunt (21) and Holly Munro (20) are also both in line to make their senior debuts against either Australia this Saturday or China on the 23 February. Both have been vital members of the EDP side in recent times and have also spent plenty of time training with the seniors and are fully deserving of their place in the squad. 

Great Britain face Australia in their next double header on Saturday 16 February. Both games will be shown live on BT Sport, with the men getting underway at 07:30 GMT with the women following on straight afterwards. 

Book your tickets to watch these stars in action this summer as they play their home FIH Pro League fixtures in London. Tickets on sale now 

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