Former England Head Chef Meziane joins Manchester United

Omar Meziane co-authored a cookery book with former England rugby star James Haskell

Omar Meziane co-authored a cookery book with former England rugby star James Haskell

FORMER England Head Chef Omar Meziane has joined Erik Ten Hag's backroom staff at Manchester United.

Meziane worked with England from 2017 to 2022, having initially started with the Under-17s during their World Cup win in South Korea. He was part of Gareth Southgate's backroom staff at both the 2018 World Cup and Euro 2020 and, although he helped prepare for Qatar 2022, exited shortly before the tournament.

Instead he travelled with the England cricket team on their victorious tour of Pakistan in November and December.

United advertised for the Head Chef role in the summer. Their Executive Chef is James Tagg, who leads a team of more than 100 staff and oversees all catering at the club, including restaurants and food outlets at Old Trafford, but United had been looking for someone to work primarily with Ten Hag's first team.

Meziane will be based at the Carrington Training Centre, where he will “prepare, produce and deliver a high-quality consistent catering offer”, although he will also work on matchday at both home and away games.

He will work closely with United’s nutritionists, Tom Whitehead and Mark Ellison, to create menus for players at work and at home. This is just the latest change behind the scenes at United, with Football Director John Murtough and Ten Hag attempting to restructure and revitalise the entire football department.

Meziane's father ran a Moroccan restaurant and he started out as a chef at the Oxo Tower in London in the mid-1990s. His first foray into professional sport was with Wycombe Wanderers and he subsequently went on to work with Wasps and Harlequins in rugby union; with the GB rowing team at the 2016 Olympics, and with the England cricket team.

He has also done a lot of private work with elite athletes, including Chelsea footballers, and co-authored a cookery book with former England rugby star James Haskell.

In an interview with earlier this year, Meziane said: “I like to think that with any of the players I have spoken to that I have made some impact. No matter how tiny it may be.

"I just like to show them that food is more than chicken, broccoli and quinoa and can be exciting and delicious. It is about cooking for performance and recovery. It's also about the right foods at the right time.

"I'm very much driven by my roots, those North African flavours and textures since working in the sport. We all know what’s good for us. It’s about having a good, balanced diet. That means good quality fish, turkey and chicken.

"We mix that with the right amount of carbohydrates and plenty of vegetables. Playing two games a week, you've got to ensure those players have to ensure that they are fuelling correctly.

"If they aren't playing so often then you have to adjust the intake as they aren't burning as many calories. Overall, I know that my katsu curry (pictured below) is a winner every time with footballers. I think that will be my ultimate legacy at the FA!”

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