Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish is hoping to convince Gabriel Agbonlahor about the benefits of yoga – using Ryan Giggs as the prime example.
Giggs has prolonged his career thanks to the physical, mental and spiritual discipline and is still playing in the Premier League at the age of 38.
The Manchester United and Wales star has reinvented his game after starting out as a speed demon who, like Agbonlahor, terrorised opponents with pace.
And McLeish would love his striker, aged 25, to follow in Giggs’ footsteps by opening his mind to new methods to stay in tip-top condition.
Because of the sprinting that is a hallmark of his game, Agbonlahor has picked up various stresses and strains in recent seasons and Villa hope to reduce his time on the sidelines.
“There are one or two players who do the yoga here,” said McLeish. “I don’t know if he will take that on board as well.
“It is something we will be talking about with the doctor and the fitness coach, whether he is going to embark on the yoga as well.
“Towards the end of my playing days it was starting to filter in. There were all sorts of different tools starting to come into the game. Now players have virtually everything.”
McLeish knows all about Giggs’ training regime thanks to his friend and managerial mentor Sir Alex Ferguson and he believes the Old Trafford star is an ideal role model.
“I think they only need to look at the Ryan Giggs example,” he said. “If you are embarrassed about it or not sure and then you see a figurehead like Giggs doing it I’m sure that has inspired a lot of young players.
“Gabby is an athlete, built for speed, and these are injuries that happen. I think if you look at Giggs flying down the wings in his young days he had a lot of hamstring problems. I remember reading quotes that he had to modify his game, which he has done superbly.
“He is still going, he’s been superb, he also worked with a yoga teacher. That helped him in his preventative measures in terms of injury. He had to modify his action.
“That’s not applicable to Gabby yet. He still has the speed to burn, not modify yet, but he will have to do some preventative work.”
McLeish, chief medical officer Dr Ian McGuinness and fitness coach Adrian Lamb believe injury prevention is better than cure, hence their plans for Agbonlahor’s training.
“It’s just getting Gabby on a programme and hoping we can keep him fit as long as we can because he was a boy in great form at the beginning of the season.”