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Deliver your hottest winter performance

Don’t forget to hydrate

“You might not feel as thirsty in the winter, but you’re still going to be sweating, so it’s important you stay hydrated and don’t cramp up. I’m a habitual water drinker, but if you don’t feel like taking too much fluid on, try to get hold of some hydration sachets; they’ll make the salt stay in your body, which is always a good thing.”

Warm up inside

“You don’t want to be hanging around in the cold so, if you can, get out there before a winter match and do a short, sharp warm-up, then come back inside and do dynamic stretches in the dressing room. That means that when you go out for kick-off it’s just a case of getting everything loosened off when you’re already warm.”

Keep the layers down

“It’s all very well having loads of layers on in winter, but what’s the point if you’re not going to be playing in them? I always wear the same for training or a match: shorts, T-shirt and a long-sleeved base layer, so as soon as I’ve warmed up, I’m ready.”

Watch the wind

“You should always watch the first goalkeeper’s kick carefully, to see how strong the wind is, which direction it’s blowing and how the ball is bouncing. It’s the same for your passing – you might need to clip the ball rather than smash it. Check the weather and adapt.”

Man up, it’s only a cold!

“I never have and never will miss a game because of a cold – it just wouldn’t do for a centre-half. Unless it’s severe or you’re highly contagious, you should be OK to play. You can’t go wrong with a bit of rub on your chest, sweets for your throat and honey and lemon before you go to bed."

From sub-zero to winter hero

Whether it’s wearing the right gear or shrugging off the January blues, FFT’s essential guide to playing in Arctic conditions will ensure you deliver your hottest cold-weather performance yet

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