Lachie Wales on The Green Room: Surfing, being the Club chatterbox and studying the world’s best

Lachie Wales

Western United forward Lachie Wales joined The Green Room on FNR Football Nation Radio, talking about his upbringing by the beach in New South Wales, the new-look Western United under John Aloisi and everything in between.

Catch up on a recap of some of the best bits from his interview below:

On surfing, living by the beach near Gosford as a kid

Yeah, I was always down at the beach while my family was building our family home. We lived on the beach for probably a year and a half, and yeah, spent everyday surfing and doing Nippers and these kinds of sports and always enjoying it with my brother and sister. It was an awesome upbringing, it was kind of good to enjoy a lot of different sports because by the time I was a little bit older I wasn’t over football, my dad didn’t pressure me into playing football or anything like that so it was an awesome upbringing and something that I’m really grateful for. The water’s a lot colder down here, so I probably need to invest in a better wetsuit at the moment.

On playing under John Aloisi and the beginning of the season

It’s honestly been a breath of fresh air for John to come in with Foxey (Hayden Foxe) to come in as well. It’s been absolutely awesome for us boys to start fresh with a new training ground, new philosophy. I think we can already see that our defensive structure is probably really standing out at the moment, something we’ve worked on all pre-season. Obviously the attack hasn’t quite been clicking yet, but you know early in the season, if you’re hard to beat you can always work on the attack and the goals will hopefully come. So it’s been absolutely awesome, and I know personally I’m really enjoying learning off someone like John. He’s played at the highest level, played in a similar position to what I play in, so to absorb as much information as I can off him – and to enjoy your football – that’s probably when you play your best.

On working with Aleksandar Prijovic and Dylan Wenzel-Halls in the attack

It’s great. It’s probably the first time I’ve been here where you can look around and there’s real competition for places in every position. Wenzel-Halls – he’s a real energetic young fella, he’s got a big mouth and he’s always ratting about the training field, eager to learn and he’s got plenty of energy. Aleks has kind of got that physical presence, so I think moving forward those two can spark a real combination – whether one plays or two play. They’re both very competitive, it’s a good mix to have, you can go with the smaller, quicker player or you can go direct into Prijovic, so it’s great to have those options. Obviously, you’ve still got myself, Painy (Connor Pain), Dylan Pierias, who have got a lot of speed down the wings, so with these strikers here you just have to get the ball in the box.

On being the team chatterbox, bringing the energy to the training pitch

It’s funny because everyone hates it at one point. Some mornings everyone’s a bit drowsy and I’ve always got a bit of energy to pick them up, so it’s a love-hate relationship with some of the boys with me. I’m too much for them at times, but if you take a seat next to me on the bus on an away trip I’ll chat your ear off. They do come, it’s funny. They all complain about it, but they do sit there. It’s all in good fun, all good banter. Benny (Garuccio) is still learning the ropes, he’s still in his Gucci and his Melbourne City attire, so he’ll learn pretty quickly that doesn’t sit well at the club. The boys love it, we try to create a bit of energy in the changing room and we’re light-hearted, the boys always get a good laugh out of us.

On committing to the dream as a young player at Central Coast

It was a really tough period there. I was studying PE teaching as well up at Newcastle University. I was also training full-time at the Mariners and yeah, I was on $80 a week so it was difficult to drive up to uni after training and then sometimes have to go back at night and train with the youth team and things like that. Massive credit to my old man, he always helped me out with petrol and things like this. I never stopped believing in my dream, and once I got that opportunity I kind of ran with it at the Mariners and I moved on to Melbourne City and had an awesome experience there. I think I’ve found somewhere here where I’m really feeling comfortable, my performances are starting to go up, I’m starting to score a few more goals, so I just think I’ve found a place where I’m really comfortable and I can push myself here at the moment, and I’m just really enjoying football.

On watching more football as a way of learning and improving

For the first time in my career, I’ve probably watched a lot more football than I’d usually watch. I’m studying a lot of players like Mohamed Salah and (Sadio) Mane from Liverpool and watching their decision making in the final third. Just seeing how quick they are but also how composed they are in that final bit. I haven’t got there quite yet but it’s something that I’m trying to get better at and trying to work on each day. I always liked watching soccer, but I never would watch the analysis side of it, and Gary Neville speaking about players and things like this. It’s just something I’ve gotten into over the last six to eight months, and something I’ve actually enjoyed. They’re the best players in the world, and to watch how good they are it’s unbelievable. To watch them to and try and pick a little bit apart is something that’s really interested me lately and it’s something I’ll continue to do.

On the experience of playing in and scoring at the Olympic Games

It was such a good experience just to even go over there. The whole build-up to it, training with the best players, and kind of players that I’ve grown up playing with or against. To put on the jersey was awesome, that first night (win over Argentina) is something I’ll never forget and I think every Australian football fan won’t forget in a hurry. To beat a country like Argentina is probably one of the best football memories I have had in my life so far. To knock one in was awesome, it just kind of topped the day off. Just a memory that I’ll never forget. To show that we can mix it with the best young players in the world – we were probably 10 minutes off a draw against Spain to go into the quarter-finals, and you never know what would’ve happened then. To play against Pedri and these kinds of players, it’s an awesome experience and only makes you more hungry to get back on a stage like that.

Listen to the full interview here, and be sure to tune in to The Green Room on FNR, presented by Simonds Homes, every Wednesday night at 7pm.