PNE star’s ‘fair dinkum’ diet

Aussie Bailey Wright is a big fan of sushi and barbecues but does not get the chance to indulge much in his favourite foods living in the UK
Aussie Bailey Wright is a big fan of sushi and barbecues but does not get the chance to indulge much in his favourite foods living in the UK
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“Are you okay to wait one sec while I place my breakfast order,” said Preston North End central defender Bailey Wright in his unmistakable Aussie twang.

I nodded and answered ‘No problem’ as Wright disappeared behind the door which connects the changing room area and the canteen at North End’s Springfields training ground.

It is a regular routine for PNE’s players to eat together in the morning before they head out for training.

Not only does it ensure that the players are fuelled by the right kind of foods ahead of the serious stuff which happens on the training pitch, but sitting around the table as one for breakfast is a great team-bonding exercise.

Wright had obviously asked the chef to put his breakfast order on hold for five minutes while he returned from the canteen to conduct a Press interview with myself.

With an important Championship fixture at home to QPR coming up, followed by a trip back to his homeland for two crucial World Cup qualifers for Australia, there was a lot on the agenda for Wright to discuss.

But first I had to ask him what his dish of choice was for that particular morning.

“I’ve just ordered scram and ham,” said Wright.

“I think that’s what I’ve gone for this morning – scrambled eggs with ham.

“I don’t always have that – sometimes I have poached eggs or oats.

“I like to mix it up a little bit.”

Like everything in today’s game, diet is an extremely important factor for the modern-day footballer.

Gone are the days when players could enjoy a full fry-up before a big game, like they did maybe once upon a time.

Stars nowadays have every aspect of their diet ­monitored to make sure they are getting the ­correct ­nutrients in their bodies at the correct times during the week.

Keeping a watchful eye on any foods which may raise body fat levels is balanced by the need to keep the body replenished and ready for exercise.

“There are a few different ways of doing it I guess, in terms of what you eat,” said Wright.

“I think each individual in our squad has their own sort of routines with regards to what we should and shouldn’t eat.

“Obviously we load up on the carbohydrates a bit more around game-time and the day before.

“During the week, we will probably lower the load a little bit and eat a bit more protein.

“You have to make sure you are eating plenty and recovering well after games.

“Eating the right things are important and making sure you are eating not for the sake of eating.

“As players, we have to monitor our intake.

“We all get tested regularly to make sure that we are all consistent with our body weight and body fat.

“We can’t really cheat too much, although that can be difficult.

“My missus was baking the other day – she made this cake and it looked and smelt fantastic. I kept walking past it – how I managed to stop myself from having any I have no idea!”

Ahead of a game, Wright keeps it simple when it comes to his last meal before walking out on to the pitch.

But will then indulge on foods with a high carbohydrate content once the final whistle has sounded.

He said: “I just like to have porridge oats and mixed fruit at 11.30am-ish on a Saturday for a 3pm kick-off, or 4-30pm for a night game.

“After a game, for instance if we are on the coach coming back from a long away game, we will have pizzas and stack up on the carbs.

“We will not have eaten for a quite a few hours before the match and we will have expended a lot of energy.

“We have the energy gels which we can have during the game, but afterwards it’s pizzas, chicken, fruits and nuts – basically whatever there is on the bus.

“In the changing room, there will be a mixture of garlic breads, lasagna and stuff like that.”

Not being a native to these shores, Wrights admits there are a number of foods he craves for back home.

“One thing I do miss is sushi,” he said. “ You can’t get good, fresh sushi in the UK like you can back in Australia.

“The other thing I miss is a good old barbecue. I have bought a barbecue, but I think I have used it twice in seven years since I have been over here.

“I’ve got to have a barby ,being an Aussie. But with the UK climate, it’s pointless having one really.”