Tuesday 20 March 2018

Girlfriend's vegan advice helps Defoe stay young

England's Jermain Defoe. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
England's Jermain Defoe. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Matt Law

Jermain Defoe has revealed that his girlfriend is helping him turn vegan in a bid to make England's World Cup squad and remain young in mind and body.

Gareth Southgate left the door open for Defoe to make the plane for Russia after the 34-year-old scored on his England return in the World Cup qualifying victory over Lithuania.

Defoe will be 35 when the World Cup kicks off, but he is doing everything in his power to remain in the best condition possible. He is teetotal, will not eat chocolate and drinks daily spinach, kale and nettle smoothies, and is now trying to cut meat, fish and dairy out of his diet.

"I'm trying to turn vegan, which is a funny one because when I go to my mum's house she's got every meat you can imagine out on the table," said Defoe. "I'm just trying to tick every box, so I can continue playing.

"It's my girlfriend's idea, she said I have to do it and she puts on these documentaries about it. It's always helpful when you have got someone around you to help you and drive you on.

"I eat a lot of fish, so it's not easy, but I'm trying and I feel good so I'll continue to do it."

As well as concentrating hard on his diet, Defoe also endures regular cryotherapy sessions which involve him exposing his body to temperatures as low as -220F.

"It's not enjoyable, but I try and to do it like I'm loving it. Everyone wants to play and there's no better feeling than to feel fresh. So I just make sure I'm doing the cryotherapy, massage and eating the right things. I don't find anything hard because I know the feeling I get scoring goals.

"It's like when I get in that ice bath. I don't want to do it, but I know at the weekend I'm going to get rewarded. The demands on the players are so high with the intensity of the games these days. But with the sports science, if you do things right and look after yourself, you can keep going."

Defoe first experienced World Cup disappointment back in 2006, when he was left out of Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad. He went to the 2010 tournament and scored against Slovenia, but was again omitted from the 2014 squad and also missed out on last year's Euros, a decision which he described as "heartbreaking" after scoring 18 goals for Sunderland that season.

"In my heart I felt I'd done enough to be involved," said Defoe. "All these things play at the back of my mind. I love playing football and I love playing for my country. I still think about it. It keeps the fire in your belly. I've never been one of those people who want something given to me on a plate. I always want to work hard for it.

"My mum's always said it's not how you start, it's how you finish. Years later I'm back in the squad at 34 and scoring goals for my country again. I'm just delighted." (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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