Sterling, Maguire and the rise of football stats technology

Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire are two of the many players now benefiting from football technology – their managers now know EXACTLY how far they will run and at what intensity… and thanks to FIFA games youngsters are embracing it also

  • Football technology is now starting to filter down to all tiers of the pyramid 
  • Pep Guardiola knows Raheem Sterling will cover more than 11km during a game 
  • Companies like STATSports help teams track players and crunch the data 
  • Youngsters are receptive to the data because they have grown up playing FIFA 

Pep Guardiola knows Raheem Sterling will cover more than 11 kilometres during a game and reach incredible speeds close to 37 kilometres per hour because of the tracking device he carries in his vest.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knows Harry Maguire will cover almost 10 kilometres across 90 minutes, performing at a ‘high intensity’ for about a third of it, with a highest speed of more than 35kmph.

These numbers are among the masses of information now compiled by sport scientists in the Premier League and analysed with the help of an increasingly sophisticated range of software.

The advancement of technology with companies such as STATSports means players’ every move can be tracked and recorded to give a host of performance-related output

Pep Guardiola (right) knows Raheem Sterling will cover more than 11 kilometres during a game

The data revolution continues at great pace in the elite professional game where Manchester City have added an astrophysicist to the team of experts at their disposal.

It has also trickled down through the pyramid to reach the grassroots level of the game, where STATSports, the company providing GPS tracking equipment to Premier League clubs, linked up with the Junior Premier League (JPL) for a five-team pilot scheme at the start of this season.

‘It’s working, the kids have loved it and responded to it,’ says JPL chairman Martin Brock. ‘Across those five squads it was all: ‘what’s your top-speed’, ‘how far did you run’ and ‘what’s your heat map like’.

Both Harry Maguire and Sterling are two elite players benefiting from STATSports technology


HMLD 2411m (high intensity activity)

Max speed: 36.97km/h

High Speed Running: 1498m

Distance per min: 123m

Total distance: 11.22km


HMLD 3256m (high intensity activity)

Max speed: 35.02km/h

High speed running: 952m

Distance per min: 118m

Total distance: 9.78km

‘They are tech-savvy and they play FIFA so they’re used to seeing the sprint speeds of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

‘They want to be like their idols and they want the comparisons. They want to get better, faster and fitter. They’re all aspirational and they’re using the vests and the pods gives you the data to monitor it.’

The tracking devices have enabled some young players to keep track on their fitness on their phones and tablets during the lockdown and a new STATSports Apex Coach Series, launched to coincide with the return of grassroots football, will provide coaches with the software to monitor the data from their players from the touchline in real-time.

‘The coach series allows the coach who doesn’t have the sports science and conditioning background to understand his players’ data,’ says Sean O’Connor, co-founder of STATSports. 

‘To create competition, map development and compare to national standards or even professional standards.’

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