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Did Arsene Wenger ban Mars Bars for his players? Ian Wright relives his Arsenal days on I'm A Celeb

The ex-footballer is having flashbacks to his time playing for Wenger, when the manager famously clamped down on his team's diets

Ian Wright (ITV)
Published: Wednesday, 20th November 2019 at 9:36 pm

The dire food situation in the I'm A Celebrity camp is proving a tough challenge for Ian Wright, bringing back memories of his time playing for Arsenal under Arsene Wenger.


One of Wenger's first moves was to take charge of his players' diets to ensure what they were eating would result in the best athletic performance.

Wright recalled in the Bush Telegraph: "I don’t think it’s even been five days yet and I’m already struggling with the eating. When Arsene Wenger first came to Arsenal we literally changed from eating what we wanted, to bland food. It’s almost taking me back to remember how bland the food was."

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 11: Arsene Wenger the Arsenal Manager during the Arsenal Press Conference at Sheremetyevo Airport on April 11, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Wenger ordered the club cafeteria to stop serving burgers and chips, instead offering healthier alternatives such as fish, chicken, steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes.

But worst of all, he implemented a chocolate ban that had perhaps the biggest effect on team morale.

Speaking to ESPN, Wenger said: "I changed a few habits of the players, which isn't easy in a team with an average age of 30 years - at the first match the players were chanting, 'We want our Mars bars!'

"At half-time, I asked my physio Gary Lewin, 'Nobody is talking, what's wrong with them?' He replied, 'They're hungry.' I hadn't given them their chocolate before the game. It was funny."

Henry Winter, chief football writer at The Times, shed some more light on Wenger's diet-focused attitude when he left the club after 12 years in 2018:

Wenger's disapproval of sweetening drinks checks out, given that he had said in a newspaper interview years before: "I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables."

After having such strict restrictions imposed upon him, Wright probably thought that his diet would forever be back under his control after retiring from football in 2000.

No wonder jungle life is proving such a tough pill to swallow...


I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here continues tonight at 9pm.


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