What if: Arsene Wenger never took charge of Arsenal
- Arsene Wenger just completed 20 years at Arsenal. But what if he never joined them in the first place?
#2 Modern day diet and fitness would be nowhere close to what it is now
Arsene Wenger’s arrival at Arsenal revolutionised world football in general and English football in particular with respect to players’ diet and fitness. Wenger, during his time in Japan, had noticed that there was not one obese person in the country and concluded that their staple diet would be perfect for the average footballer. So out went sugar, red meat, chips and pizza and in came pasta, green veggies, and steamed fish. Alcohol was frowned upon but still permitted.
”The whole way of life is linked to health. Their[Japanese] diet is basically boiled vegetables, fish, and rice. No fat, no sugar. You notice when you live there that there are no fat people. I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables.” said Wenger.
Wenger also bought in new fitness routines including Plyometrics to England. Exercises, mainly used by hurdlers and sprinters, Plyometrics involved sudden ballistic movements in order to improve strength and conditioning. This form of exercise was so alien to English football that the manager had to demonstrate them to the players himself.
The results, however, were brilliant. Arsenal soon became the fittest team in England and began to easily bully opponents physically in key stages of the season. Players began to peak at the right moments and a combination of the diet and fitness added over 3-4 years to the players’ careers.
Such innovations are now a norm in modern day football. Take a look at Pep Guardiola, for instance, who banned pizza in the Manchester City dressing room in order to get the players lean, mean and ready for the season.
While in years previously, players often had burgers and a couple of beers after a training session or even prior to a match, such acts are now completely abolished and managers all around the world have Arsene Wenger to thank for this.Published 01 Oct 2016, 11:52 IST