Published 11 March 2022 8 min read
England Women's Senior Team

20 Questions With Katie Zelem

Written by:

Frank Smith

England and Manchester United midfielder Katie Zelem becomes the latest player to take on 20 Questions

Katie Zelem’s charisma and personality was clear to see when she became the latest England Women’s player to take part in our feature 20 Questions.

The Manchester United captain took part in the questions-and-answer session during the November camp, before she went on to make her senior England debut during the emphatic victory over Latvia.

The goal-scoring midfielder, who has scored three goals directly from corners in her last two matches for United, was also part of the Lionesses’ squad who won the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup last month.

You can find out more about the 26-year-old below.

1) What’s your earliest memory?
Really random but in my school photo in reception, because I always used to play football with the boys, I had a big bandage over my knee where I had obviously played in the playground. We still have the photo now. I am obviously not tall now but back then I was tiny. I was sat on the front row with all the boys and had this big bandage on my knee.

2) If you could go back in time, would you? And where to?
This is really funny because we were talking about this the other day in training, where we were talking about if you could recreate one moment. I would recreate visiting my Grandma before lockdown because over lockdown she has had to stay in the house a lot and things like that so before lockdown, I would go back to being able to go out with my Grandma.

3) What do you like most about yourself?
O I don’t like that question! I quite like that I am really chatty so I can chat to anyone. I get that from my Dad! 

Katie Zelem made her England women's senior team debut against Latvia in November
Katie Zelem made her England women's senior team debut against Latvia in November

4) What's you biggest achievement?
Off the pitch, buying a house. I bought a house on my own and it took months and months to go through so when I finally had the offer accepted and six months later I got the keys, that was a huge achievement for me. On the pitch, I would say captaining Manchester United for the first time. It was the Manchester derby at the Etihad in front of around 30,000 people. It was our first game in the FA Women’s Super League, it was my first game as captain and my Mum and Dad were in the crowd and my Mum was crying, as usual, so I would say that.

5) What’s your worst habit?
How long have you got? I don’t know if it is a bad habit but I hate doing the dishes. Honestly, I have moved into a house which does not have a dishwasher and it is the worst thing ever! 

6) What makes you most angry?
Dishonesty. You know, if you have done something, then just own it. Don’t try to fabricate the story or go around the houses. I am really direct and to the point. If you want to do something, then do it but own it along the way.

7) Who is your biggest influence?
My parents. I am an only child so some people say they can have only-child syndrome but I disagree. My Mum and Dad have been there for me through everything, both on and off the field, so it would definitely be them.

8) How do you react under pressure?
I think I react quite well under pressure. I like to be efficient with everything and even when I am not under pressure, I like to get things done so I guess that carries into the way I handle things.

9) When do you do feel most at ease?
When I am on holiday. When I am doing nothing at the end of the season. During the season there is always a lot going on. Sometimes I feel at ease on the pitch but I also obsess about winning so maybe not so much on the pitch! So I would say after the season when everything is done.

18 Dec 2021 12:26

Katie Zelem | Off The Pitch

Katie Zelem is next to join Josh Denzel for a walk off the pitch to answer 30 questions, but with one football chat!

10) What do you dream about when you sleep?
O all sorts! I guess it depends on what is coming up. If something is happening, if there is a big game or something to look forward to, then I would be dreaming about that. 

11) Favourite phrase or word?
Apparently I have started saying ‘all the time’ a lot but I don’t notice it. People keep saying to me about it but I am like ‘do I?’. So it is not too bad. I did an interview the other day and someone said ‘you started saying ‘like’ and I thought ‘O no, that is a really bad habit’. I don’t think I say it much but I will listen back to our interview and let you know!

12) What reminds you of home?
My Mum’s cushions. This is so random but now that I have moved out, it is just my parents living there and my Mum likes to change her colour scheme in the house every few months, just to freshen things up and to keep her entertained, but my Dad hates it. So every time I go back home, it will be blue, then it will be yellow, but it doesn’t matter what colour it is, she will always have chequered cushions which are different colours. So when we see chequered cushions, my Dad will always say ‘get one of those for the house!’ So if I see a chequered cushion, then it reminds me of home.

13) Are you superstitious about anything?
Yeah, slightly. Maybe not to the extreme but I wear the same sports bra and knickers for games, I will always warm up in some of my jewellery on, put on my right shin pad before my left – I’m sure everyone says that – but there are little things like that. I actually think off the pitch, if you don’t believe in a superstition then it can’t get you! People are like ‘O three grids’ and I’m like ‘nope, I don’t believe in it’. So it is better not to believe in anything like that!  

14) What makes you cry?
I’m really bad when other people cry. I don’t cry that much myself but if I see my really close friends cry, then I have to tell them to go away because I’m not good at dealing with them crying! 

Katie Zelem with her Manchester United team-mates after England's Arnold Clark Cup win in February
Katie Zelem with her Manchester United team-mates after England's Arnold Clark Cup win in February

15) One song that makes me feel good?
The One by Memphis Bleek. That was mine and one of my friend’s songs when we went on holiday so every time it takes me back to then.

16) Biggest obstacle?
Like I say, I often just want to get things done and maybe sometimes I am quick to make decisions when sometimes I should take a step back and have more of a thought process. I will sometimes jump the gun, so a bit more thought would benefit me.

17) Favourite place in the world?
My favourite holiday destination so far was Los Angeles. Me and three friends did Route 66 and it was unreal in California. So I am going to say that.

18) Most valuable possession?
Nothing really comes to mind for this one.

19) Worst fear?
When I’m watching I’m a Celebrity, I often wonder whether I would be scared of something. I don’t like being really claustrophobic so maybe that would be my worst fear but I don’t actually know what my worst fear is right now. I am not really scared of heights, I am greedy so I eat everything, I don’t mind spiders and bugs, so it would probably be tight spaces.

20) How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered firstly as someone who was really honest and as someone who you knew exactly what they were thinking. And secondly, I would like to inspire the next generation. For me it is really important to stand up for what you believe in and then hopefully inspire some people along the way and show younger people what I have done so they can hopefully follow in my footsteps.