England: How pickle juice is helping players at Euro 2024

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When England’s stand-in left-back Kieran Trippier went down injured in the closing stages of their opening Euro 2024 win over Serbia on Sunday, some fans would have feared the worst.

BBC commentator Guy Mowbray said: “Of all the positions for England to suffer an injury blow, left-back would not be the one you’d pick.”

However, TV pictures showed Trippier, 33, stretching his right leg out on the advertising board while ingesting two sachets given to him by the England doctor.

So just a bout of cramp then…

But in a tournament where England’s defensive injuries are giving supporters palpitations, social media went into classic investigative mode. Just what were the substances Trippier was given? What was the secret?

The answer – one sachet was a high-carb drink referred to as a ‘fuel bomb’ and the other was pickle juice.

It might sound disgusting, but pickle juice is one part of the England team’s strategy to combat cramp in players.

Pickle juice is used particularly commonly in tennis and Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz drank it during his five-set victory over Novak Djokovic last summer.

It has been found to stop cramping ‘40% faster than drinking water’.

Although the juice contains sodium, potassium and vinegar – which would be thought to replace the salts players have lost during a game – it is actually something different which makes it effective.

When drank, it triggers a reflex in the mouth which sends a signal to stop muscles from cramping.

It is not exactly new… back in 2019, midfielder Lucas Torreira was pictured drinking from a bottle labelled “pickle juice” in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Chelsea.

Pickle juice is also said to be useful for the rest of us mere mortals who do not play professional sport.

Its additional benefits are reported to be curing alcohol-induced hangovers, helping control blood sugar levels and boosting gut health with antioxidants – and it is even supposedly good for fresh breath, because it kills bacteria which breed in your mouth.

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