What food do World Cup stars Kevin de Bruyne and Kyle Walker eat?

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Life as personal chef for Kevin de Bruyne, Kyle Walker and Ilkay Gundogan

England play Belgium at the World Cup on Thursday - and players in both squads have used the cooking skills of Jonny Marsh. Here, he tells us all about his dream job.

I'm Jonny Marsh and I reckon I have the best job in the world. I love football, I love cooking and that's basically my career.

I'm a private chef to some of the best footballers in the world and often I get to cook in their own kitchens (which are all off the scale, by the way).


My clients have included England players Kyle Walker and Jordan Pickford and two of Belgium's Premier League stars - Kevin de Bruyne and Marouane Fellaini.

All of them will be in the squads for the final Group G match in the World Cup on Thursday so it's cool to think I have played a small part in their journey so far.

Kyle Walker's favourite spag bol

The national teams out in Russia all have their own team of chefs, and the managers will probably have a big say in the diets of the players.

I could potentially see myself doing that - I will wait for a call from Gareth Southgate himself!

A footballer's diet will have a massive effect on the "final product" and it can often give them that extra five or 10% on the field.

Jonny makes sure Kyle Walker's meals are tasty and full of goodness

Every player is different but a typical pre-game meal for Kyle Walker is spaghetti bolognese with a twist.

The "twist" would be to cook the pasta in beetroot juice so it absorbs the iron and nitrates found in the vegetable - it gives him that extra boost he needs before a big game.

Kevin de Bruyne's carb-loading

Jonny also cooks for Manchester City and Belgium midfielder Kevin de Bruyne

I have the best clients because they are not at all fussy. They all really like simple home-cooked food that has that required added nutritional value.

Kevin de Bruyne, for example, before a game he will carb-load (nothing too heavy) and post-game he will have loads of protein.

The last pre-game meal I made for Kevin was my pulled barbeque tacos.

I put some pulled barbeque chicken mix in a wholemeal pita with some little gem lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and served it with a carrot and cabbage slaw.



Why it's different for the goalkeepers

As a goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford will eat less than an outfield player pre-game as he's not going to be burning off the same calories as someone like Kevin.

Of course, every now and then these players have to have a cheat day but I still try to make those meals as lean and healthy as possible.

If they want a burger and chips, I will make them a spiced turkey burger with polenta chips so it's not overly heavy in saturated fat.

Jordan Pickford keeps himself in shape with the help of Jonny's cooking

A lot of them crave sweet things because they aren't allowed them most of the time.

If they want pudding after a game, I do an avocado chocolate mousse with added protein to aid their recovery.

I try to tailor their menus to their individual needs and will include national dishes - Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan is German but has a Turkish heritage so I try to incorporate elements of his parents' home cooking into his meals.

My dream client…

Ilkay Gundogan gets ready to tuck into a meal cooked by Jonny

Most evenings I drop pre-made meals with Kevin and then go and cook at Ilkay's house - I sometimes sit and eat with him.

If he's got loads of guests around then it's strictly professional but sometimes it's just me, him and his cousin so we will hang out.

My dream client would be - of course - Cristiano Ronaldo. I absolutely love him and as a Manchester United fan he is a hero to me.

Also Paul Pogba. I think he has the potential to be the best midfielder in the world and he's obviously eating well because he's in fantastic shape, but I would love to be involved in helping him get to the level that he can get to.

Jonny Marsh was speaking to BBC Sport's Libby Dawes.

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