Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

A comparison of running intensity during professional football training and matches and the impact of running intensity on the expected goals performance outcome

Jardine, Joshua C. (2024) A comparison of running intensity during professional football training and matches and the impact of running intensity on the expected goals performance outcome. Master of Science by Research (MScRes) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.105644) (KAR id:105644)

PDF (Volume 1)
Language: English

Download this file
[thumbnail of Volume 1]
PDF (Volume 2)
Language: English

Download this file
[thumbnail of Volume 2]
Official URL:


The two main aims of this investigation were to identify whether running intensity in training compares to the running intensity in matches for a professional football team and whether running intensities impacted the expected goals (xG) outcome of the team during a professional football match. The participants, 27 professional football players at Gillingham Football Club, were recorded during training and matches using GPS during the 2022/23 season. Training distance per minute and high-speed distance (> 18km/h) from medium- and large-sided games were collected, these metrics were also collected during competitive matches alongside xG. Following data collection in-depth statistical analysis was concluded, distance per minute covered presented no significant difference between training or matches when considering positions (P = 0.57). Match distance per minute was significantly higher than training when all playing positions were aggregated (P = 0.03). Defenders covered significantly less distance per minute than midfielders (-8.43m.min-1, P = <0.01), and forwards (7.33m.min-1, P = 0.02). High-speed distance was significantly lower in training than matches by position (P = <0.01), and significantly lower when positions were aggregated (P = <0.01), and when positions were compared against each other midfielders cover significantly more than defenders (P = 0.04) and forwards (0.01). Mean distance per minute aggregated across position showed no significant correlation with xG scored (P = 0.97), this was the same with high-speed distance (P = 0.48). Forwards, midfielders, and defenders showed no significant correlation for distance per minute and xG (P = 0.59, P = 0.51, P = 0.88, respectively). Forwards and defenders highspeed distance had no significant correlation with xG (P = 0.35, P = 0.41, respectively). However, for midfielders high-speed distance there was a significant correlation with xG (P =<0.01), although an R2 value of 0.34 suggests a weak correlation. In summary, training distance per minute produces similar values to match data when considering position, implying it is an effective training tool to prepare for the demands of a match. There was no impact of running intensity on xG performance of the team, although there was a weak positive correlation identified between high-speed distance of midfielders and xG performance.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Science by Research (MScRes))
Thesis advisor: Dickinson, John
Thesis advisor: Hopker, James
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.105644
Uncontrolled keywords: xG High-Speed Distance Distance Per Minute GPS Position
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation. Leisure > Sports sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2024 14:10 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 11:01 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Jardine, Joshua C..

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.