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Chris Smalling: 'Veganism has helped me steer clear of injury'

Smalling: 'Veganism helps me avoid injury'
© Reuters
Manchester United and England defender Chris Smalling credits his new-found vegan lifestyle as a key factor to staying free of injury.

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has credited his new-found vegan lifestyle as a key factor to staying free from injury.

A number of professional athletes have spoken about cutting out all animal products from their diet, including fellow footballers Hector Bellerin and Jermain Defoe.

Although veganism tends to split opinion among sports nutritionists and the general public alike, Smalling is pleased with the results so far.

"My wife is vegan and has been for a few years," the England international told The Telegraph. "She's often tried to persuade me. She cooks a lot at home and half the time I was eating vegan anyway.

"After a while I started to cut out red meat, because red meat causes quite a lot of inflammation and I had a lot of tendinitis in my knee, which many footballers get.

"Red meat causes a lot of that inflammation and when I was cutting that down, the tendinitis started to go. It used to be a problem in terms of warm-ups, because getting going was a bit of a nightmare. My tendinitis has got better and better.

"Now I've gone fully vegan and normally the start of pre-season can be quite a tough time, but I haven't felt it at all. At first, I was half and half, so I was cutting out red meat but still eating other meat. But then the missus throws a lot of documentaries at you and it opens your eyes a little bit in terms of different industries and that persuaded me to go full vegan.

"Since then I've played a lot of games. Normally the second day after a game would be the worst. I would feel very tired, but I felt like I was recovering very quickly. In terms of the vegan diet there were a lot of factors that helped with that and I was able to keep banging out games without being too sore."

Under Jose Mourinho, the 28-year-old featured 46 times last term as Man United finished second in the Premier League.

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