Footballers not running for their money

Dec 20, 2013
Dr Paul Bradley.

Millions of pounds may be splashed on elite footballers in the English Premier League, but it is those who play in the second and third tier of football who run further on the pitch, new research reveals.

For years, in the top tier of English football have been paid much higher wages compared to those in the Championship and League One. However, research at the University of Sunderland has found it is those in the lower leagues who are covering a greater distance at a higher intensity.

Research published in the journal Human Movement Science analysed 300 players in the English Premier League, Championship and League One. It is the first time research has looked at the match performance across all three divisions.

The research found that those in League One ran a lot further at a higher intensity than those in the Championship. The same was true when Championship players were compared to those in the Premier League. The researchers believe this could be due to more teams adopting a long ball style of play the further you go down the football pyramid.

However, academics did find that those playing in the Premier League performed a greater number of passes and successful passes. They also received the ball more often and had more touches of the ball than those in the Championship and League One.

The research, 'Match performance and physical capacity of players in the top three competitive standards of English professional soccer', could also back up the belief that players at a higher standard have a far higher level of technical skill, and do not use the long ball tactic of 'kick and rush'.

Additionally, the research found that when players were relegated from the Premier League to the Championship, they began to run more distance at a higher intensity. However, when players moved in the opposite direction they didn't change the levels of running and intensity.

Dr Paul Bradley, led the research and is a senior lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Sunderland, said: "This research highlights that the long ball game does make you work harder, and that the context of the game dictates how each individual or team works. Some of the results were quite surprising as we expected there would be differences in the technical areas between the leagues, but not the physical nature."

The report stated: "The data provides new insight into the possible impact technical characteristics have on match running performances and highlights that players at lower standards could tax their physical capacity to a greater extent….These findings could be associated with technical characteristics inherent to lower standards that require players to tax their physical capacity to a greater extent."

Explore further: World population likely to peak by 2070

More information: "Match performance and physical capacity of players in the top three competitive standards of English professional soccer." Bradley PS, Carling C, Gomez Diaz A, Hood P, Barnes C, Ade J, Boddy M, Krustrup P, Mohr. M. Hum Mov Sci. 2013 Aug;32(4):808-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.humov.2013.06.002. Epub 2013 Aug 24.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Football: Thai firm sues Apple over Premier League app

Sep 12, 2013

A Thai cable television company on Thursday said it was suing Apple for $3 million accusing the US technology giant of selling an application that violates its exclusive rights to English Premier League football.

Psychological testing may predict success in football

Apr 04, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Measuring what are known as 'executive functions', which reflect the cognitive ability to deal with sudden problems, may make it possible to predict how good an elite football player will become in the ...

Recommended for you

World population likely to peak by 2070

Oct 23, 2014

World population will likely peak at around 9.4 billion around 2070 and then decline to around 9 billion by 2100, according to new population projections from IIASA researchers, published in a new book, World Population and ...

Bullying in schools is still prevalent, national report says

Oct 23, 2014

Despite a dramatic increase in public awareness and anti-bullying legislation nationwide, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our nation's youth, according to a report by researchers ...

Study examines effects of credentialing, personalization

Oct 23, 2014

Chris Gamrat, a doctoral student in learning, design and technology, recently had his study—completed alongside Heather Zimmerman, associate professor of education; Jaclyn Dudek, a doctoral student studying learning, design ...

User comments : 0