West Ham have a secret weapon for the new season – former 'The Only Way Is Essex' star Billi Mucklow.
Sam Allardyce has been singing the praises of Mucklow this pre-season but why exactly is he now so found of the ex-reality TV star?
Well that is because she is the current girlfriend of the team's star, but injured, striker Andy Carroll - and Allardyce is confident that she can get him back to full fitness.
England international Carroll has featured just 16 times for West Ham since becoming the club's record signing last summer and now faces more time on the sidelines with an ankle problem.
Carroll attitude during injury lay-offs has been called into question in the past, but Allardyce is confident he is rehabilitating in the right way this time – and it is all down to Mucklow.
"Andy with his girlfriend, as far as I can see, is doing lots of good things. I think I’ve seen pictures of Andy in the gym she has, which is obviously an exceptionally nice place to be," he is quoted as saying in The Sun.
“If he’s doing some workouts with his girlfriend as well as his rehab with us it can only benefit — and it passes the time.
“For a player, the big problem is sitting with a boot on and getting past the time and boredom.
“There has to be some release — but the right one, not the wrong one. I don’t think people realise how depressing it can be for a player.”
Mucklow has set up a Bikram Yoga business since leaving TOWIE and also ran in the London marathon in 2012.
Mucklow told Digital Spy earlier this year: "I'm always happy with my figure. Don't get me wrong, I've got wobbly bits and a bit of cellulite. I'm normal. I'm one of those people that thinks if you don't like something, get to the gym or stop eating. I'm not a moaner about my body."
West Ham face Tottenham Hotspur in their opening game of the Premier League season on Saturday afternoon.
- Sports & Recreation
- Sam Allardyce
- Andy Carroll