Is an addiction to cigarettes the reason England’s World Cup dream went up in smoke?

Fans have blamed lazy players, poor management and insurmountable tension within the team.

But the reason for England’s excruciating World Cup defeat may be far simpler – an unhealthy penchant for cigarettes.

Key members of the squad, including Wayne Rooney, Aaron Lennon and Ashley Cole, have all been spotted lighting up in the last few weeks.

And according to experts, the effects on fitness of regularly davidoff cigarette – viewed as a more sophisticated option by afficiandos, including David Beckham- can be catastrophic.

Lighting up: England striker Wayne Rooney enjoys a cigarette as he relaxes in the pool on holiday in Las Vegas

Lighting up: England striker Wayne Rooney enjoys a cigarette as he relaxes in the pool on holiday in Las Vegas

Writing in The Daily Mail, Mark Leather, senior lecturer in sports therapy at Edge Hill University, Lancashire, highlighted the health risks.

‘It is baffling to see Wayne Rooney smoking because the long-term effects are well documented and are not conducive to professional athletes,’ he said.

‘If you smoke regularly, your airways become blocked, it is tougher for oxygen to get round your body to your muscles and you can have respiratory problems.

‘It was much more common in the past – Johann Cruyff smoked 20 or 30 a day – and in the short tem it is not such a problem, but it is daft in the long term as it can curtail your career.’

Professor John Britton, an expert in the health effects of smoking from the University of Nottingham said: ‘The main impact of smoking is on the respiratory system and how oxygen is carried around the body.

Life's a drag: Aaraon Lennon marked England's exit from the World Cup with a fat cigar

Life's a drag: Aaraon Lennon marked England's exit from the World Cup with a fat cigar

‘Carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke binds to red blood cells which stops them from carrying a full load of oxygen.

‘It also introduces thousands of toxins into your system.

‘This means the maximum performance of a footballer like Wayney Rooney will be less because he smokes. His decision doesn’t seem logical because professional athletes usually want to be the best that can be.

‘Plus the long-term health effects are massive. Half of smokers will die because of their habit.’

Striker Rooney, 24, was recently seen lighting up as he relaxed in the pool on holiday in Las Vegas.

Widespread habit: Ashley Cole (left) and Wayne Bridge, who did not go to the World Cup, also smoke

Widespread habit: Ashley Cole (left) and Wayne Bridge, who did not go to the World Cup, also smoke

He was also spotted puffing on a cigarette outside Manchester’s Panacea bar at the weekend as he enjoyed a lads’ night out which went on until 5am.

Lennon, 23, and Cole, 29, are also known to smoke along with team-mate Wayne Bridge, who did not go to South Africa.

England crashed out of the tournament in July after Germany routed them 4-1.

Their opponents had the edge throughout, including an extra turn of speed which left England lagging behind.

Rooney, widely viewed as one of the potential stars of the tournament, was a crushing disappointment.

He looked out of sorts throughout the competition, even snapping angrily at fans who booed England off after the 0-0 draw with Algeria.

World Cup flops: The England team ahead of their disastrous campaign in South Africa

World Cup flops: The England team ahead of their disastrous campaign in South Africa

source: dailymail.co.uk

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