Pep Guardiola has set weight targets for his squad and those who attended too many barbecues this summer may find themselves training with the stiffs.
It is a strange concept in the modern game that any player at the highest level of the game would not be subject to a strict diet and health regime, aided by nutritionists and health professionals. Yet it clearly is still possible for a highly paid professional to ‘let themselves go’ during downtime to the point where they could fit in on most Spanish beaches or the Bigg Market on a Saturday night.
It wasn’t always like this. Back in the ‘good old days’ of the 60’s and 70’s it was not unheard of for matchday stewards to be issued with instructions a couple of hours before kick off to ‘find the striker’. After trawling local hostileries to no avail, a search of the visitors dressing room often revealed a quietly snoozing No.9 who was awakened from his post-pint (s) nap to take his place in the starting line up with fans and opponents none the wiser.
There are some immediate names that come to mind who would now be contemplating a few weeks hard dieting combined with a stretch training with the reserves. Whether they would have ultimately made it back into Pep’s good books is another story.
Jamie Pollock – scorer of perhaps the finest own goal ever scored at Main Road – was never the slimmest of players. Now back to his fighting weight of a baby killer whale, he trains kids, hopefully instilling in them the benefits of a healthy diet.
Another former player John Burridge (although of the football league could claim that one) would also have needed a bit of work as would fellow shot stopper Neville Southall. What Guardiola would have made of Neil Razor Ruddock is anyone’s guess.
Players careers at the highest level can be 10-20 years if they’re lucky. They get paid a small fortune, some earning more for a days training that many earn in a year. Surely sticking to a diet for a while is not too much to ask.
Just don’t tell Claudio Ranieri as his players might miss their Pizza run.
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