Contrary to popular belief, it’s not hard work in the gym or a positional switch from left-back to right-wing that catapulted Gareth Bale to superstardom.
That’s at least according to Peter Crouch, who puts the speed and ferocity of the Real Madrid star down to his pre-match meal of baked beans on toast.
Crouch played alongside Bale when he signed for Tottenham in 2009, combining with the winger for two years before departing North London for Stoke.
Speaking to FourFourTwo in the February 2020 issue, Crouch revealed how he took a closer look at Bale’s methods to try and get the same results on the pitch as his teammate.
“I watched Bale flying up and down for Spurs and ripping Maicon to shreds against Inter with high-intensity running. I thought, ‘How does he do it?’”
“So I started watching him really closely. He didn’t go to the gym and just ate beans on toast, so I started doing the same.”
Despite enjoying the new changes in his daily routine, Crouch unfortunately didn’t benefit from the effects of copying Gareth Bale.
“I thought, ‘Well I can do the no gym stuff, no problem – and beans on toast, I like beans.’”
“I went for it, but some beans have more magic than other beans, I suppose.”
Bale isn’t the only footballer to have a curious pre-match routine. Wayne Rooney used to ask the kitman which kit he’d be wearing the night before a game so that he could visualise scoring when he went to bed, while Gary Neville used to go and sit on the toilet for 15 minutes before kick-off to read the matchday programme in peace.
“I actually spoke to Paul Scholes recently and asked him what his pre-match meal was,” continues Crouch.
“He said, ‘Baked beans on toast’ – exactly the same as Gareth.”
Perhaps the one full-back capable of stopping Gareth Bale, would be Gabriel Heinze.
Read the full interview with Peter Crouch in the February 2020 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, available in shops and online now. This issue is a Euro 96 special, delving into the last time England hosted a major international tournament with interviews and features from Terry Venables, Gareth Southgate, David Baddiel and Frank Skinner, Karel Poborsky, Barry Davies, John Motson and many more. We also speak with Peter Crouch about life post-retirement, ask Darren Anderton your questions and chart the highs and lows of Panini stickers.