Keith Hackett has urged young referees to hire their own sports scientist or personal trainer to get fit enough to keep up with Premier League speed machines like those at Liverpool, Newcastle United and Wolves.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Premier League official explained how ball-carrying speedsters are a nightmare for refs in the high temperatures of midsummer.
The likes of Liverpool duo Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah, Newcastle United flyer Allan Saint-Maximin and Wolves dribble king Adama Traore eat up the ground when in full cry.
Asked by Football Insider how hard it is to keep up with the quickest players in the Premier League in a summer heatwave, Hackett replied: “It’s a great question. When you look at the referees, they all move from endurance to explosive training.
“I brought in a speed-coach to facilitate this, at the time referees were doing 25 sprints a game compared to 45 in terms of the players.
“What is important is that you get the view of what is happening.
“In refereeing terms, when a player like Sant-Maximin explodes in front of you and sets off like a jet-engine you’ve got to make certain you’re in touch with play or you move into a position to make sure you have a viewing angle in order to be able to see any challenges.
“You’ve really got to cover it and I think all young referees coming up need to get sports scientists or get involved with a spin-coach to put you through it. It’s tough.”
Saint-Maximin and Traore both produced matchwinning displays in the first weekend of Premier League action.
The Newcastle man scored and was named man-of-the-match in his side’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United, while Traore came off the bench to set up both of Wolves’ goals in their 2-0 triumph against West Ham.
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