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Even star players feel the burn from festive football

As football clubs complain about the effect of a busy festive season on their teams, Brunel’s sport science academics say players are as likely as anyone to face burnout.

Outspoken Premier League managers Jose Mourinho and Harry Redknapp claimed that the number of games over the Christmas period had left their star players facing exhaustion – and it affected their results.

Dr Misia Gervis and Dr Richard Godfrey from Brunel University London’s life sciences department told Sky Sports’ Gillette Soccer Saturday programme that even professional sportsmen and women would feel the psychological and physical strain.

Dr Godfrey said that the average player’s body would be put through a lot of strain over the course of a match, leaving muscle carbohydrates in dire need of replacing, while he would need the time to replace the calories burned every time he pulls on his boots.

The psychological stress of a poor performance also stays with players, who need time to avoid carrying it into their next game, Dr Gervis said. She told Sky Sports that young players particularly were carefully monitored for stress and anxiety and their training regimes have to reflect their mental state.

The Gillette Soccer Saturday broadcast can be seen here.