Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is hoping a shift to a vegan diet will give him an edge over others in the competition at the club this football season.
"My wife is vegan and has been vegan for a few years. She cooks a lot at home and half the time I was eating vegan anyway. I wasn't fully vegan and when we would eat out I would eat what I would normally have," Smalling was quoted as saying by ESPNFC.
"After a while I started to cut out red meat. One of the reasons I started to was because red meat causes quite a lot of inflammation and I had quite a lot of tendinitis in my knee, which quite a lot of footballers get," he added.
"It causes a lot of that inflammation and when I was cutting that down, the tendinitis started to go. It used to be quite a problem in terms of all warm-ups because getting going was a bit of a nightmare. I ended up cutting that out and my tendinitis has got better and better and I've started to feel it less.
"Now I've gone fully vegan and normally the start of preseason can be quite a tough time because you're loading and that's normally when it's at its worst but I haven't felt it at all."
Smalling is also getting help from the team's chef. "The last step was, that took me a little while, was the club, especially in terms of travelling. Mike (the chef) has been very accommodating and when I told him, we worked out different menus and different options," he said.
"Some of the staff are vegetarian and some of the players try bits and pieces even though none of them are vegan. At the end of the day it's about eating more good things. There are other factors but it's been a big one."
Smalling, who is injury-prone and has averaged more than 45 games a season over the last three years, further stated that with age he has become more conscious of his diet.
"Obviously, the last couple of years it's been more plant-based and I do think that's a factor. Ultimately, what you're feeding yourself has a bearing on how you're going to perform," he said.