SUNDERLAND scientists reckon they’ve worked out the difference between male and female footballers ... and it’s got a lot to do with their legs!
Men, according to Sunderland University research boffins, run further and faster than the fairer sex, and they also have greater ball control.
The report, which is the first to focus on high-intensity running in football for both men and women, analysed 54 male and 59 female football players in the UEFA Champions League.
It found that during the course of a match, men ran about three to five per cent further than females, and covered about 30 per cent more distance at high intensity.
The research also showed female players did not cover as much distance in the second half at a high intensity as they did in the first half, while male players did manage to maintain their running performances.
England player Jill, who now plays for Manchester City, said: “Men are faster genetically,” she said. “But when you speak to people who watch the women’s game, they will say their technique is up to a good standard. It’s about making women’s football its own sport.
“When you look at it, men’s football has had professional leagues longer than women. I think this is the second year we have had professional leagues where you can play full-time.”
The research, also showed the difference in technical characteristics, with female players losing the ball more frequently and having a lower pass completion rate.
Jill, who finished second with England in the Cyprus Women’s Cup, behind France, said the female game is continually improving.
She added: “I’m full-time now and hopefully that can become more common.
“There are areas where we can improve, but even since I have been involved it is becoming more common.”
It is hoped the research can be used to provide gender-specific training for professionals in both male and female footballers, to improve physical and technical performance.