Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew wants to be playing football at 40 and has gone mostly vegan to do so.
The 32-year-old Blackburn Rovers captain is in Lima for the first of two post-season friendly games, the first against Peru in the early hours of tomorrow morning British time before Scotland take on Mexico at the Estadio Azteca on Sunday.
The former Celtic and Dundee United defender, likely to be handed the armband again by Alex McLeish, is determined to have at least another eight years in the game.
He has been helped by some advice from former Celtic and national team boss Gordon Strachan, and a change in diet 11 months ago that “even three years ago” he would have thought “impossible”.
Of his determination to continue until he is 40, Mulgrew said: “That’s the figure I have got in my head. I would like to play until then at least.
“It is something I would like to do and, the way life expectancy is going, it could definitely be something in the future for a lot of players.
“I watched a documentary on Netflix, I liked it.
“I did a bit of research and it (veganism) is getting bigger and bigger and it is going to be massive soon.
“Gordon Strachan took two bananas every day and that is something that sticks in my mind as well.
“He has an influence in that type of thing. He played for a long time and I had a chat with him before and he is someone I look up to.
“It is difficult at first to make different types of meals.
“You are used to meat and vegetables and potatoes and pasta or whatever.
“I needed to get used to cooking all different things, replacing meat with veg but once you get into it there is really nice stuff you can eat.
“My body fat has gone down and I feel fitter, I feel good.
“I am not going to start preaching about not eating meat or dairy – I could be back on the meat this time next year – but it is something I am enjoying.”
Mulgrew, who recently helped Blackburn win promotion to the Sky Bet Championship, wants Scotland to be World Cup warm-up killjoys in the Americas.
Boss McLeish named a makeshift and inexperienced squad, nine of whom are uncapped, but Mulgrew stressed that Scotland have not travelled to help both host nations enjoy a rousing send-off to Russia.
He said: “I want us to test ourselves against teams who are going to the World Cup and who will probably do well in the World Cup.
“There are top players in both teams, it is two difficult games away but we are not here to roll over and let them have a party.
“We are here to do well and get results.”
Mulgrew earned the first of his 34 caps against Slovenia in 2012 and is as keen as ever to play for his national side.
He said: “You are a long time retired.
“I don’t want to look back at 50 and say, ‘I should have just gone to Peru and Mexico, I would love a trip there with the national team now’.
“It is a great honour and I am delighted to be here.”