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Why Liverpool star Wataru Endō wears a mouthguard on the pitch

Why Liverpool star Wataru Endō wears a mouthguard

He may not be the most popular “Endo” in the Premier League, but Wataru Endo is making a name for himself. The Japanese defensive midfielder has put in a solid string of performances, quickly winning the hearts of Liverpool fans. Yet, his peculiar style on the pitch is more than his football: Endo also wears a mouthguard.

In the player's autobiography Duel, the footballer unearthed one of the secrets behind his battling success on the pitch. The 30-year-old writes: “From the 2020/21 season, I started wearing a mouthguard while playing. Now, it's become so important to me that I can say that I'm afraid to play soccer without it.”

“I first started using it when I met a dentist named Jun Miyagawa who lives in . Mr. Miyagawa explained to me that: ‘Even monkeys have beautiful teeth, it's only humans who get their teeth loose,' and that ‘Resetting the jaw joint to its proper position will improve both the mind and body.'”

“The most important point of a mouthpiece is to protect your teeth. Soccer is a contact sport, and although it is not as common as rugby or American football, it is possible for teeth to break due to impact, it happens often. My first goal was to prevent that.”

Endo wears a mouthguard like a rugby player

Mouthguards have paid off for Endo, who can proudly say he hasn't lost any teeth since emerging as the Bundesliga's best defensive midfielder at . 's national team captain also wears two custom-made mouthguards, one on top and one for the bottom of his teeth.

“I don't just wear it on my upper jaw like many athletes, but I wear it on my lower jaw,” he says.

“I have even had the patient's bite adjusted. The key points for this combination were to ‘not to press on with my back teeth' and ‘to adjust my jaw appropriately.' This is because, unless it's a sport like weightlifting, there's no need to expect stress on the jaw; rather, the main focus is on keeping the position in a relaxed state.”

By mastering the anatomy of jaw motion, Endo has vastly improved his game on the pitch. Impressed, Liverpool boss signed him in the summer of 2023 to replace the exiting Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to the .

Endo has become a dependable player in Liverpool's lineup, helping the Reds back into the top four of the Premier League table. He attributes his growing confidence to wearing his mouthpieces.

“I no longer have the fear of breaking my teeth, I started to be able to hit ‘1 vs. 1' with all my might,” he adds.

“In addition, by continuing to be conscious of the position of my jaw it allows me to relax. It's now an absolutely indispensable tool when I'm on the pitch.”

Photo: Instagram/endowataru

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