Pallister: The ONE reason footballers are more athletic than ever

United Warm Up

Manchester United legend lifts lid on why a lot of stars from teams like Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are more athletic now, than in his day…

The argument that footballers are greater athletes in the modern era more so than in the past has been backed by former Manchester United defensive mainstay Gary Pallister, who has claimed that the reason why current stars would out-perform their predecessors comes down to 'abs and sports science'.

Pallister points to squad rotation as testament to the great and imposing demands placed on individuals to endure a season that could span over 60 matches. Selecting the same players, or partnerships, on a consistent basis is therefore unwise due to the stress it places on muscle groups.

'You can't rely on two players to play week in and week out,' said Pallister to the club's official website. 'We've seen that and Sir Alex himself did that. You have an idea which is the best partnership but you can't expect them to play every game. The demands are far too great now. Footballers today are more athletic than they were even in my time.

'These guys have six-packs and sports science behind them. It means they are in the very peak of physical condition but everybody needs a rest at times.'

Sports science is a subject that has long been documented by Simon Kuper, who notes that the two European nations who are following the example set by the USA and baseball are the two who competed against each other on Tuesday evening at Wembley Stadium; England and Germany.

Kuper writes that both countries use data to analyse matches and formulate tactics and that clubs within those nations prepare their athletes by adopting scientific methods.

In a recent interview with Opta Pro, Kuper claimed: 'Germany has a tradition with sports science that goes back to the early 20th Century. In 1920 they set up a Higher School for Sports Science in Berlin which later became the school in Cologne which now supplies data to the German team.

'So for the Germans, the idea of using data to improve football tactics is not new. It's in the line of what they've been thinking about in sports science for nearly 100 years. That's why I think England and Germany are in the lead [but also] bear in mind that their clubs have money.'

image: © nasmac

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