English footballers now take health and fitness extremely seriously, but that wasn’t always the case.
As recently as 30 years ago, the vast majority of English footballers would enjoy a few beers - okay, more than a few - whenever the opportunity arose.
English football’s infamous drinking culture only came to an end in the early-to-mid 1990s, thanks largely to modern-day managers like Arsene Wenger.
However, old habits die hard and many English footballers who played in the 1970s and 80s have continued to booze and eat badly after retirement.
Needless to say, because they’re not training every day like they used to during their playing careers, this has led to them piling on the pounds.
Enter Harry Redknapp, whose recent ITV show ‘Harry’s Heroes’ aimed to help a group of former England internationals lose weight while improving their health and fitness in the process.
The incentive? Taking on, and hopefully defeating, a team of former Germany internationals at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road in front of fans.
Among the ex-England players included Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, Robbie Fowler, David Seaman and Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock, who was warned by doctors on the two-part series that he was at serious risk of a heart attack or a stroke due to his weight.
After losing their first warm-up match against a schoolboy team that Harry Kane and David Beckham used to play for, Redknapp organised for his men to take on Crystal Palace Ladies team, who finished third in the Women’s Championship.
The team had been training for a couple of weeks by this point and produced a much better performance this time around.
Even though they haven’t played for years, there were moments when the ex-England pros’ quality shone through, with Le Tissier and Merson particularly impressive.
And the retired playmakers combined perfectly for the only goal of the game against the Palace Women’s team (5:42 in the video).
You can watch footage of the match in full here…
This performance gave the England boys some much-needed confidence and they went on to beat their German counterparts 4-2 in the final match of the series.
Not only that, but every member of the team also lost a bit of weight - even Razor, who managed to shed 1kg.
You can watch their first practice match, against the schoolboy team, here…News Now - Sport News