Preparations for the upcoming 2019/20 season are underway at Compton with the players arriving back into training earlier this week.
But it’s not just on the training field where the hard work has begun, but also in the first-team kitchen where head chef Sean Kyle is making sure the players’ diets are fully catered for.
Having to cater for almost 1,000 meals per season per player is a big challenge for the chef, but with the possibility of having to balance Europa League and Premier League football, Shaun explains how his team stay on top in the kitchen, so the players can stay ahead on the pitch.
On preparations for the upcoming season
“Everything’s been pretty good. The lads are now in for the start of pre-season. Last week we were in the process of getting everything ready and working on plans for menus.
“We’re currently sending menus out to all the various hotels for our Premier League fixtures and our tour in China as well. It’s exciting times but it’s also very busy.
“The staff are all focused, but we’re all looking forward to what promises to be a good season.”
On the difficulties of a hectic schedule
“It’s not too bad. I travel ahead of the team arriving to organise the kitchen, make sure we have the ingredients that we’re after and ensure the set-ups right.
“That’s the big focus for us as it’s a large operation but if we can keep the players happy on the food side of things then that helps us greatly.
“This season, if we go the distance in the Europa League, the recovery days would be slightly shorter, and we’ll have only a small window between fixtures. This will make our job more intense, with a quicker turnover, but we will be able to cope well.”
On impact of nutrition on a player’s recovery
“There won’t be any changes as I think we got it right last season, on both recover days and on matchday, because the players recovered well, and we had very little injuries.
“We’re a small part in a big wheel when it comes to the players recovery because the players eat almost 1,000 meals a season with us. They eat here for breakfast and lunch, which is half of their diet.
“When we’re travelling away they also eat dinner, so a lot of time their recovery and preparation for games is down to what they intake while they’re with us.”
On how experience is helping his team
“I’ve just got back from Italy where I’ve been with England under-21s. Although it was a bad tournament from a performance point of view, the FA nutrition is vastly improving and are leading in their field, so it’s been fantastic to be involved with them.”