Robert Snodgrass believes 280-mile commute to Aston Villa and dining in

Robert Snodgrass believes 280-mile commute to Aston Villa and dining in service stations saw him return to West Ham United out of shape

  • West Ham’s Robert Snodgrass spent the 2017-18 season on loan at Aston Villa
  • Upon returning to the Hammers, Manuel Pellegrini told him he had to lose weight
  • Snodgrass told the boss his commute to Birmingham had made it hard to stay fit
  • In 17 West Ham games this term, a fit Snodgrass has two goals and three assists 

Robert Snodgrass blames his daily 280-mile commute to Birmingham and dining in service stations for returning to West Ham last summer out of shape.

Manager Manuel Pellegrini warned the Scot, who spent last season on loan at Aston Villa, he had to lose weight if he wanted a spot in his Hammers side.

Snodgrass did as he was told and is now relieved to be starting Premier League games rather than living life on the motorway.

Robert Snodgrass trained on Friday on the eve of West Ham United's game with Crystal Palace

Robert Snodgrass trained on Friday on the eve of West Ham United’s game with Crystal Palace

‘I said to the manager, “You try travelling from London to Birmingham and eating at services and having a balanced diet!” I was travelling nearly 280 miles daily,’ said Snodgrass in the build-up to Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace.

‘I was up and down all over the country. Because I was on loan last year, it was difficult to get any balance or routine. It was probably the hardest year of my life but it’s the sacrifice you make to play football.

‘I was trying to be a family man and a footballer, so it’s difficult. I said, “I’ll give you my all, just give me a fair chance and I’ll take it with both hands — if I don’t then I’ve only myself to blame”.

‘This is why I wanted to be at West Ham. I never wanted to come and just take part. I wanted to be a team player, chipping in and earning my wage. There’s no other way for me.

‘It doesn’t matter if a footballer is earning £100,000 a week or £1,000 a week — the first thing you need to do is work hard for your team.

‘That’s the difference sometimes with the top managers. They motivate the players to work hard.

‘The football was really good at Villa. It was all worthwhile. I had a terrific time at Villa.’ 

Snodgrass returned to West Ham's first team after a  meeting with Manuel Pellegrini (above)

Snodgrass returned to West Ham’s first team after a meeting with Manuel Pellegrini (above)

Snodgrass’s new commute to West Ham’s Rush Green training ground is a mere five miles and he credits Pellegrini with whipping the squad into shape.

‘You see who is at the top of the league now? Man City — the top players work hard. Liverpool — the top players work hard,’ Snodgrass said.

‘This is what the manager is trying to do. Get the players who are really good players all buying into what he is trying to do.

‘It took us the first month or so to get to grips with it in terms of results. You need to make sure you have a squad of players who are happy and coming on to do their best for you.’

Pellegrini will face Palace’s 71-year-old manager Roy Hodgson at the London Stadium on Saturday, and he says he also wants to work into his seventies.

‘I hope I will carry on for many more years,’ said the 65-year-old Chilean. ‘I hope to be working at 75-plus! If I am in good shape I will do it.’

Pellegrini is running out of fit forwards and Sportsmail understands he will bring 21-year-old Xande Silva into Saturday’s squad.

The Portuguese forward was signed in the summer for £1million and has scored six goals in eight games for West Ham’s Under 23s. 

Snodgrass spent last season on loan at Aston Villa and struggled to maintain his ideal weight

Snodgrass spent last season on loan at Aston Villa and struggled to maintain his ideal weight