Hodgson claims incorrect – expert

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Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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England manager Roy Hodgson’s claim there is little evidence to support a two-day recovery programme is incorrect, according to a sports science expert.

While the rights and wrongs of the handling of Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling by the national side continue to be debated, the Reds have defended their training regime.

Liverpool give pacy players like Sterling and Daniel Sturridge – who has not played since straining his thigh in training with England over a month ago – lower intensity sessions in the two days after games.

Hodgson rejected the Barclays Premier League club’s approach, saying “I don’t think there is a lot of medical evidence to support the ‘two-day recovery’.”

But Dr Craig Twist, an academic at the University of Chester, said he is incorrect to do so, as he told Press Association Sport: “I can cite evidence from a Portuguese group.

“I have seen data on football players of professional standard who have shown fairly prolonged – 72 hours, maybe longer – periods of fatigue so where he said there is no evidence I think there is evidence out there.

“You could also argue there is evidence out there, albeit tentative, that the movements you do, the speed you work, the time you play will, have an influence on your recovery in the days afterwards.

“Someone like Sterling is doing a lot of repeated, high-intensity efforts so there will be a particular type of fatigue he is experiencing compared to a centre-back.

“On average you could say (after) about 48 hours they would show signs of recovery in certain markers but it depends what you term as fatigue.

“There is not a definitive answer but there is evidence out there.”

Twist, who has undertaken a large amount of research into monitoring training load and recovery in rugby league and has worked with Super League clubs and the Rugby Football League, stressed it was not just physical but mental issues which have to be considered.

Sterling received some criticism after Hodgson publicly revealed the player said he felt tired before the Euro 2016 qualifier in Estonia.

“You might find someone has recovered in terms of their muscular response within 48 hours but perceptually they may be still quite low and that has an impact on what the athlete is able to do,” added Twist.

“What you tend to find is people who are in a ‘damaged’ state the perception of soreness and tiredness causes some to down-regulate their exercise as a sort of protection method because they feel tired.

“People will debate perceptions of an athlete but we take well-being measures from athletes very regularly, it is a daily thing in most sports, when athletes will be asked to give a rating on how they feel.

“If you look at some of the literature in triathlon it is actually shown when they intensify training deliberately the actual perception of tiredness is quite sensitive and also it parallels with decrease in performance.

“It will get blown out of proportion but the measures of perceptual fatigue are very key and it is something we should take notice of but it is how it is packaged.

“There is enough evidence now to suggest they (athletes) are fairly sensitive to training loads and sensitivity.”

England’s sports science team are to contact their Liverpool counterparts in an attempt to avoid problems of this nature in the future and communication is a key factor according to Twist.

“The problem at international level is they see them so infrequently that without that day-to-day data it is hard to make judgements,” he said.

“Switching athletes across to different regimes is a challenge to both sides and it would make sense for the data (clubs produce) to be available.

“It is about managing the players much better so they can get through a season or these intense periods of competition, that is a really crucial role as sports scientists.”

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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