Ghana's No. 1

Ghana's World Cup physiologist snubs Black Stars for English money

Published on: 20 May 2010

Italian physiologist Stefano Tirelli, who helped Ghana at the 2006 World Cup, has snubbed the Black Stars, for the big cash with England at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

England's technical staff now number 17 after Fabio Capello handed Professor Stefano Tirelli, a physiologist who specialises in massage and acupuncture therapies, a contract until the end of the World Cup.

His absence is a blow for Ghana at a time when key players like John Mensah and Michael Essien are facing some injury challenges but the lure of the working with the world's richest players who too hard to resist.

Tirelli, who has worked with Milan, Ghana and Nigeria, was joined at training today by the Tottenham Hotspur physio Nathan Gardiner, who has travelled to Austria to oversee Ledley King's exercise routines given the Spurs defender's chronic knee problems.

The 29-year-old played a full part in training for a little over an hour this morning before breaking away to work with Gardiner.

The addition of Tirelli, who came highly recommended by David Beckham after his two loan spells at Milan, was made after the England set-up were impressed by his input in a part-time consultancy role in the build-up to the friendly against Egypt in March.

The Italian has lectured on complementary sport techniques at the Università Cattolica in Milan and has worked with such players as Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari,Nwankwo Kanu, Stephen Appiah and Alessandro Del Piero.

More recently, John Terry has used him as a consultant at Chelsea and Portsmouth have tapped into his expertise in the past.

Ghana World Cup physiologist anubs Black Stars for English money
The Italian specialises in recovery techniques and the healing process, and has been trained in the equipment, shipped in by the national set-up from the US, geared specifically towards altitude training.

England's players are spending around an hour every day wearing customised silicon gel face masks, which pump diluted air with lower concentrations of oxygen to simulate the effects of altitude, at the team hotel to prepare them for playing in the rarefied air of Johannesburg or Rustenburg.

Tirelli is overseeing that but will also have a role to play in the squad's post-match recovery in South Africa.

He joins Christian Lattanzio, a sports psychologist, and a quartet of masseurs in England's travelling party, with seven of the technical staff Italians.

They are accompanied in Austria by eight security, media and player liaison officers who, at times today, outnumbered the players participating in training out on the pitch.

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