Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe turns vegan to boost World Cup bid
Last Updated: 27/03/17 11:29pm
Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has turned to veganism in a bid to stay on top of his game at the age of 34.
Defoe ended a three-and-a-half absence from the international stage on Sunday, opening the scoring in England's 2-0 Wembley win over Lithuania.
That was the latest instalment in a remarkable resurgence for Defoe, whose career appeared to be winding down when he swapped Tottenham for Toronto in 2014.
Since returning to the Premier League with Sunderland he has been one of the division's most reliable scorers, with 14 goals this season despite the Black Cats' struggles at the bottom of the table.
Defoe has long been tee-total, is an enthusiastic advocate of cryotherapy treatment, practises yoga and his latest attempt involves cutting animal products from his diet.
"I have a better understanding of my body now," said Defoe. "Everyone wants to feel fresh in the game, there's no better feeling. So I'm just making sure I'm doing the right things - cryotherapy, massage, eating the right things, trying to turn vegan.
"That's a funny one because when I go to my mum's she's got every kind of meat you can imagine out on the table.
"It was my girlfriend's idea. She said to me, 'You've got to do it' and she's always showing me these documentaries and that. It's always nice to have someone around you to who helps you and drives you on and wants you to do well."
Defoe happily embraces every marginal gain he can get his hands on, a function of his professionalism and a lingering hunger for putting the ball in the back of the net.
"I don't find anything hard because I know the feeling of scoring goals," he said.
"So getting in an ice bath and all that isn't nice, but I just think, 'You know what? I'm going to do this and be rewarded'. It's hard, but in another way it's easy because all I want to do is play well and score goals.
"The key thing for me is recovery, giving yourself the best opportunity to perform in the next game, and I seem to have got that to a tee. There's a lot of things I do away from training and away from matchday that help me perform, so I'll just keep doing that."