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PICK OF THE DAY; Live football Setanta Sports 1, 7pm.

Byline: James Milton

DEFENDER Rio Ferdinand is ruled out of Manchester United's game against Middlesbrough after getting injured during the warm-up on Boxing Day, writes James Milton.

And Rio wasn't alone - Arsenal's Johan Djourou and Jose Enrique of Newcastle both did themselves a mischief while prancing around little plastic cones.

I firmly believe that the warm-up is a myth created by the luminous training bib industry, employing Sammy Lee as the frontman of their nefarious operation.

These incidents provide further evidence that a rigorous series of stretches and sprints provides a far from ideal preparation for a football match.

A satisfying poo, a woodbine thrusts towards a teammate's teenage sister should suffice at most levels of the game.

Obviously, things are a little different for Premier League players - replacing the woodbine with a Menthol cigarette will enhance your capacity for anaerobic respiration.

Get the blood pumping by having a little kickaround with the club mascot. It's quite difficult to trap a football while wearing a large cartoon dinosaur suit, so the mascot is unlikely to show up your abysmal first touch.

And it's important to aim any groin thrusts in the direction of Hollyoaks actresses and Page 3 models rather than your mate's little sister.

Incidentally, even for Premier League footballers, sports science experts still recommend the satisfying poo.

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Glamour model and former Hollyoaks actress Gemma Atkinson
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Dec 29, 2008
Words:229
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