New Torquay United centre-forward Danny Wright says he is in ‘tip-top shape’ and ready to spearhead a Gulls promotion push thanks to a lifestyle change which started when he met his wife.
Wright has already achieved enough in his career to satisfy most players but his record is more remarkable given that he was fighting against a draining medical condition for most of it.
It wasn’t until he was about to sign for current Gulls manager Gary Johnson at Cheltenham Town five years ago that he was diagnosed as coeliac - and it was all down to his future wife Lisa.
Coeliac disease is caused when the intake of gluten in foods affects the immune system, with a wide range of side-effects.
“When I met Lisa, she told me she was coeliac. The more she told me, the more I started thinking ‘That’s how I’ve been my whole life’,” said Wright, 36 today.
Former Norfolk carpenter Wright, 6ft 2ins tall, did not turn pro until his mid-20s, but he has scored nearly 150 goals for Histon, Cambridge United, Wrexham, FGR, Gateshead, Kidderminster, Cheltenham and Solihull Moors.
“I started to associate things which happened when I was younger, and I couldn’t pinpoint why I wasn’t feeling right in some games,” he said.
“I ate the things that most players eat pre-match, like pasta and beans on toast, and I had a normal diet.
“I got tested and found out that I was coeliac as well.
“I changed my diet, which wasn’t hard with Lisa already on it. But the more you know, the more you want to know, and I’ve learned a lot since I was diagnosed.
“I looked at my whole lifestyle and made changes.
“My energy levels went up, I kicked on from that point and I still feel in tip-top shape going into another season.”
United will meet Stockport County at Plainmoor on the October 3 opening day of the 2020-2021 National League season, after the fixtures were released this week.