Tottenham are making players eat with their left hand only as it increases performance levels and the chances of winning silverware, football.london understands. Antonio Conte brought in the rule change this week following a study conducted by Doolay Faprills, a scientist the Italian worked with during his time at Inter Milan.
It’s understood Daniel Levy, Conte and Tottenham Head Chef, Andy Edwards, told the players about the change on Thursday, the same day many arrived back to north London following international duty. Players’ wives, partners and close family members were also briefed about the idea. This is because players are being asked to eat with their left hand while at home, as well as at the Spurs canteen.
Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies are understood to be keen on the idea, with Conte detailing the benefits in a 90-minute presentation at Hotspur Way Training Ground. football.london has been told Sam Allardyce introduced a similar idea at Bolton in 2002, with data showing a significant upturn in results in the weeks afterwards. However the idea was scrapped following the signing of Jay-Jay Okocha, who inserted a clause into his contract asking he be exempt from taking part in the exercise.
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It’s believed the club are monitoring players in the Spurs canteen to ensure they are not eating with their right hand. A fine system is in place for those caught not adhering to the rules. One source said forfeits have also been drawn up by club captain Lloris, which include wearing an Arsenal beanie hat for the day and spending an hour cleaning dishes in the Spurs canteen.
It’s understood some players were left puzzled following the initial meeting, so Paul Gascoigne was drafted in to help explain the benefits. The former Spurs midfielder only ate and drank using his left hand during England’s successful Euro 96 campaign, and the now 54-year-old told Tottenham’s players he blames himself for England’s semi-final defeat to Germany due to eating a bowl of porridge with his right hand that same morning.
Conte and his background team are also taking part in the experiment, with one source claiming the Italian was awkwardly seen trying to eat spaghetti with his left hand on Thursday evening. It’s believed Conte normally uses a fork with his right hand, although he is persisting with the idea.
It’s not the first time Conte has made changes at Tottenham behind the scenes. Shortly after the Italian replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in November, the former Inter Milan and Chelsea manager asked the players to eat like professionals, which included not using condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise. The new boss also asked for the Spurs canteen food to be cooked with less oil, butter and fats and for the players to do similar at home.
Conte has spoken about marginal gains on numerous occasions, and it’s hoped players eating with their left hand only can give Spurs’ players a significant advantage over Arsenal, Manchester United and West Ham in the hunt for a top-four place. “I consider a good nutrition and attitude very, very important because for the player it is not only important the training or the game,” said Conte last year.
“I think you have to prepare yourself in the best possible way, I consider to sleep very important, to eat well very important. I consider to have good nutrition very important because these two aspects bring the player to recover quickly. If you have this type of situation in the right way you can recover quickly, you are ready to work, also sometimes to work very hard, and also to avoid injuries. To be professional it means to have all of these situations in your mind.”