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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Steven Gerrard bans fizzy drinks, sauces and puddings from canteen menu at Aston Villa

Steven Gerrard has banned fizzy drinks, sauces, puddings and hot chocolate as he implements his new code of conduct at Aston Villa.

Gerrard was appointed as Villa’s new head coach earlier this month and is already introducing a strict rule on foods at the club’s training base for the senior and academy teams.

He revealed at his unveiling last Thursday that he had already banned tomato ketchup and it is understood that a number of other sauces, including mayonnaise, have also been taken off the menu at the Bodymoor Heath canteen.

Gerrard is determined to maintain “extremely high” standards at the Premier League club and devised the list of prohibited items with his sports science team and nutritionists.

However, it has emerged that desserts may occasionally be allowed a day before a game to provide carbohydrates for energy.

Gerrard and his team have introduced the rules to reduce ’empty calories’, which is believed to be foods made up primarily of sugars/oils which do not offer much nutritional value, and the idea has been well-received.

The former England international had a similar strategy at former club Rangers, and it is understood that Villa’s women’s team are also following suit.

“The facilities at the training ground are elite and the structures are in place for the team to be successful,” said Gerrard. “There’s a lot of ingredients to get into my starting XI and the players will find that out.

“You’ve got to have the right mentality and go above and beyond basically, strive to be elite and be the best version of yourself.”

It is unclear whether there were similar rules under Gerrard’s predecessor Dean Smith, but the guidelines were revealed in the new head coach’s first week in charge.

Gerrard made a winning start to his Villa tenure on Saturday with a dramatic 2-0 win over Brighton, with late goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings.

Villa face Crystal Palace away this weekend and Gerrard will have completed a full programme of training with his new squad, after many of the club’s international players returned late last week.

He said: “We’ll naturally implement our ideas and philosophy the more time we spend on the grass with the players, and we’ll be working hard every day to get to where we want.

“Standards will be extremely high. My staff and I obviously came from Rangers where we had quite a big rebuilding job – we enjoyed success and have certainly left the club in a far better place.

“Our intention and focus is to replicate that here and we’ll do that by working hard and driving standards.”

Gerrard was in attendance on Monday night as Villa’s Under-23s secured a 4-1 win over Burnley.

Villa’s academy is one of the most progressive in the country and Gerrard is already keeping a close eye on a number of youngsters, including winger Jaden Philogene-Bidace, 19, who scored twice in the victory at Bodymoor Heath.

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