Cooking for England

England's players might be hungry for FIFA World Cup glory, but they certainly will not be taking to the field with empty stomachs.

Alongside Robert Green and Matthew Upson, West Ham United's head chef Tim De'Ath is the third Hammer in Fabio Capello's squad for this summer's tournament.

A thrilled De'Ath, who has been at the club since 2001, is already in South Africa preparing for the arrival of Capello and his players on Thursday.

"Like all the players and staff, it is going to be a fantastic experience to be at a World Cup and it is an honour for me to be here," said De'Ath, speaking to from England's five-star team hotel in Rustenburg.

"I flew out here two days ahead of the squad to get everything set up and ready for their arrival. It is the second time I have been out to South Africa as we came out earlier in the year to have the look at the facilities, which are superb.

"It is a five-star hotel, so we have not needed to bring too much with us. Everything is here that we need. The kitchen itself is brilliant and I'm looking forward to working in it."

De'Ath is already friendly with Hammers pair Green and Upson, while he also knows former West Ham players Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, David James, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson from their respective times at the Boleyn Ground.

The chef, who previously worked as a personal caterer to Hollywood stars including Ewan McGregor and Leonardo Di Caprio, has already discussed England's World Cup menu with physiotherapist Gary Lewin and Dr Ian Beasley, who are on secondment from Arsenal for the duration of the tournament.

While the dishes remain a closely-guarded secret, it is safe to assume that pasta, grilled chicken and fish, salads, steamed vegetables and fruit will all be high on the menu for Capello, his coaching staff and his 23-man squad.

Tim De'Ath

"I have consulted with Dr Beasley and Gary about the food that I will be preparing," confirmed De'Ath. "The players are all Premier League players, so the diet will be much the same as they are used to at their respective clubs."

Alongside their meals, protein recovery drinks and shakes have been shipped to South Africa from England to ensure the players are kept in tip-top physical condition after training and matches - including those being played at altitude.

As De'Ath knows well from his work at West Ham, where he feeds the players daily at Chadwell Heath, it is vitally important that players eat a consistently nutritional diet to maintain their shape and give them the energy required to perform at the very highest level.