Harry Kane should he have been rested after the World Cup?

Wayne's words - my take on what's topical now

Sky Sports News - Craig Bellamy on Harry Kane

The 2018 /19 season has just started and already the media are talking about Harry Kane, should he have been given time off after the World Cup to rest and spend quality time with his family?

A player so important to Spurs…….So is the club doing enough to protect Kane, given the physical demands of the Premier League?

Kane has had a couple of weeks off after a World Cup and then gone straight back to training and Premier League games with high intensity. In my opinion as an outsider looking in, Kane lacks the conditioning required to cope with his current workload which could lead to injuries. If Kane does get injured who’s responsible?

Ultimately, the decision lies with the manager as he would like to play his strongest team possible every game but are managers backed into a corner? Managers feel pressure (I assume) to play their best players/team, but tired players are more vulnerable to injuries.

A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine quoted: Soccer is a vigorous sporting activity with relatively high injury incidence (17-24 injuries per 1000 playing hours) compared to other sports. The costs of injuries to soccer players are enormous, the cost of treatment and loss of production through time off work has been estimated at about £1 billion in Britain each year.

To minimise the number of injuries and the associated costs, avoiding the early retirement of professional soccer players, and provide a healthy sports environment, preventive programmes require information on injury risk of injury associated with different aspects of the game.

My opinion, Kane should have been rested to ensure he is fit for play later in the season but that’s easy for me to say without the weight of the board on my shoulders.


Jesse Lingard joins us for pre-season training

Richardson Sport are delighted to announce that Manchester United's Jesse Lingard is joining us this summer, prior to the start of his pre-season training with the club.

A big season lies ahead with United back amongst Europe's elite in the UEFA Champions League and a likely World Cup appearance for England in Russia in June 2018. Lingard is determined to impress bosses Jose Mourinho and Gareth Southgate, by making his mark for club and country.

We look forward to working together and contributing to his success throughout the 2017/18 season.

Mirror Online: 

Manchester Evening News: 

Football Academies and Education, a good mix?

A rare night off I had to watch my eldest daughter graduate from primary school at the end of the summer. Afterwards Driving back to Yorkshire on my favourite M62 motorway I receive a call from a parent thanking me for the work which we have done behind the scenes with his son and how I changed his outlook on not just being a Footballer but being an Athlete and a young man.

This client I have been working with for around two years, he came to Richardson sport when we were based at the Etihad Campus (so about 2014/5), a referral from Another client. He told me his club were due to give him the answer within the next week about the potential of the offering of a scholarship placement, but he needed to work on a couple of key areas which was strength/ power / speed. Technically he is a fantastic footballer this was mentioned in the player's parents evening.

His dad asked the club ‘do we get any help and guidance with the points that you have raised’? The clubs reply was ‘we will monitor the situation, help and give him a program from our Sports Science Department’. Around a month later he was released, another foreign player (strong powerful and very Athletic) had come to the club to replace him. When the club called my client in for a meeting they told his dad that his son didn't fit the profile of the type of player that the new management wanted and hadn't grown as much as they thought he would. He was not Strong or Agile enough. The Head of the Academy, Head of Education, and the Head of Operations all told the player and dad the news.

The main issue wasn't just Football related, it was also the player’s education. The Head of Education at the club advised him he had to leave the school he was based at organised and paid for by the club (this was thought to be a cost-cutting exercise, as this wasn’t what was agreed when he joined). His dad went to the FA and the Premier league regarding this issue. Whilst waiting to resolve this matter the player had to wait two months to re-start his education back at the school he knew and loved, during this time all school work was sent to his home for him to complete with no support from club or School.

So, are we failing our aspiring talent? The statics don't lie nearly seven hundred Academy players were released last season one percent made the cut. So how many other pupils of academies experience such upheaval and potential damage to their education? And what can be done to stop it? I guess not much, but I would think twice before putting my child into a school paid for by a football club and recommend exploring what will happen if the club decides to walk away from the agreement and how will that change be managed.

Richardson Sport is here for all things football, even if that's just someone to listen.

Professional approach can help Britannia aces to rule


First published Friday 13 February 2015 inSportby Neil Bonnar

A NEWLY established under 17’s team have adopted a professional and innovative approach to youth football.

Bolton-based Britannia AFC play a year above their age-group; consult the services of a sport scientist and are making links with a number of non-league football clubs.

Currently mid-table in the Under-17s Tameside Football League, Britannia were formed in May 2014 when manager Neil Pickup brought together groups of players he had either coached, or coached against.

The nucleus of the team can be traced back to Ladybridge FC where Pickup coached the u13s and u14s; some of whom now play for Britannia at Eagley Sports Complex.

Pickup wanted his young charges to stretch themselves and accordingly entered the 15-16 year olds into an u17s league. His players have also been introduced to sport scientist Wayne Richardson whose former clients include Mario Balotelli.

Mr Richardson has given the youngsters individual screenings, identifying weaknesses for them to work on.

“It is all about creating a professional outlook,” said Pickup. “I want the lads to see that they can have a future in the game and so I’m trying to create an academy mindset.

"It doesn’t matter that they’re not yet at a club. My aim is to get half of these guys involved in semi or professional football.”

A major step towards achieving this end is securing links with clubs. Pickup has already established strong ties with FC United of Manchester and their academy manager Paul Bright. Formerly a Manchester United coach, Bright has taken Britannia training sessions and invited four players for trials with his club’s u18s scholars.

Pickup is hoping to form similar bonds with other clubs including Chorley and Stockport County.

Richardson Sport featured in MEN


With the number of English players in the Premier League continuing to fall each year, the FA have set about reversing that pattern.

And two Mancunians are doing more than their fair share to help local youngsters live the dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Wayne Richardson, from Moss Side, worked with Greater Manchester Police as a youth support worker before choosing to focus on establishing himself as a strength and conditioning coach.

After working with various local non-league sides, the 42-year-old earned the opportunity to work with the likes of City, Leeds and Nottingham Forest.

And having built his reputation within the game, he set up his own business in 2010, Richardson Sport, helping Academy and professional players who want to do extra fitness training in their own time.

He works with Premier League footballers. As Mario Balotelli's spell with City was drawing to a close, he called on Richardson's services to help get him back in shape and make a flying start to his AC Milan career.

'Pro' players usually come to him when they're out of contract or coming back from injury, but his passion is grassroots football and helping aspiring footballers succeed in the ultra-competitive world of Premier League and Football League Academies.

Such is the way Richardson looks after his clients he jokes he's the Erin Brockovich of Academy football.

Some of them are as young as seven and they - and their families - live in constant fear of being released.

One minute a kid is touted as a future star, the next they're being told they're a month away from being let go. And each year new kids are signed, often from abroad, pushing others down the pecking order. All the while their bodies are constantly changing.

But becoming a pro is about much more than being fit and talented. For all the money clubs invest in facilities and coaching, they don't have a support system in place to help Academy players overcome the emotional, psychological and social issues they inevitably face.

That's where Richardson Sport comes in. As well as boosting players' fitness they help parents deal with their son adjusting from grassroots football to becoming a potential pro.

Richardson therefore describes his company as a 'Football Fitness Coaching and Player Mentoring service'.

"It's like a Citizen's Advice Bureau," he said. "It's a 24-hour job, I get calls in the middle of the night.

"Parents are crying, they're saying 'my son's going to get released', 'he's got problems at school', 'we've been approached by an agent'. Sometimes the kids call and they're saying 'please don't tell my parents'.

"I used to think 'I just do fitness', but now it's become a massive umbrella. My job role changes from being a fitness coach to a social worker."

And Richardson can speak from experience. While he didn't make it any further than semi-pro as a player, he was offered the job of lead sports scientist by Portsmouth in 2008 - when they were in the Premier League.

Before he'd even started the club went into adiminstration and that blow inspired him to go it alone.

He met with the PFA and the Premier League to pitch his idea of providing a "backroom staff for grassroots players" and although they passed up the opportunity to help, Richardson has established that service - without having a penny of funding.

"There's been some difficult times where people don't want to see you progress," he said.

"I was told it'd never work, that I'd never been a professional so no-one would come to me.

"But one Premier League told me 'we don't have the time to do what you do', so I knew then that I had a chance.

"There's been some resistance from clubs as well. I don't want to rival any club, I've offered to support what they do.

"But some have said 'why do you want to pay somebody to do that', and the parents have said that it's about trust. They know they can come to us for impartial advice.

"One of our clients moved from one club to another for £25,000. We worked with him for six months after the club physio misdiagnosed an injury and his parents told the club 'why should you take all the credit, you're not responsible for my son's development, he is'."

From being a one-man band, Richardson Sport has grown to a five-man team which includes the other Mancunian - Laurence Fisher.

Although the 31-year-old from Longsight is a licensed agent, he sees himself more as a mentor as he too has first-hand experience of the industry. His younger brother was released by Bolton in his teens but then earned a pro contract with Rochdale and is now on the fringes of the first team.

"It was an eye-opener for me to discover the ins and outs of football," he said.

"It was interesting to go through that journey with him, all the highs and lows and managing that emotional roller-coaster or my brother.

"I saw him mature at Rochdale and I thought I can help others progress too."

Besides Richardson and Fisher - who both have a UEFA 'B' coaching licence - there's also a sports scientist, a scout and a psychologist.

"Because of our previous roles and our background, it gives us an understanding of what they're going through," he said.

"We all bring something different to the table and have experience at grassroots level. We've got more of an holistic approach, we're more hands-on, and we believe that's what makes us unique."

Based at Sportcity, Richardson Sport now has around 70 clients, some at Academies such as United, Liverpool and Burnley, and they even have to turn some down.

"We have to be realistic about what we can do for people," said Fisher. "If we can't help someone we'll tell them.

"Our main goal is to give every player the best opportunity of becoming a professional footballer, no matter how many barriers they may face.

"There's not enough English players playing first-team football. We're not saying we've got the solutions but if we can play a small part in increasing that number then our job's done.

"But even if they don't make it as a professional footballer, we want to give them the tools to use in other walks of life. I think that's what makes us different from everyone else."

The importance of rest

When you perform exercise in particular high intensity exercise, athletes are placed under high amounts of physiological and psychological stress. Therefore, after the bout of exercise is imperative that the body is allowed to recover to return to an optimal performance state (Faigenbaum, 2004).

The body cannot continually perform high intense training every day therefore it is important the rest is incorporated into the athletes training plan. We do want the athlete to over train or be in an under recovered state. The ‘more is better’ is better attitude can be counterproductive and can place young athletes at greater risk of injury, burnout and poor performance (Faigenbaum, 2004).

Emphasis should be placed on quality of training rather than quantity of training. Ensuring there are an adequate number of rest days (ideally 1 – 2 minimum) should reduce the likelihood of injury, reduce the amount of fatigue and allow better training performance between sessions. Rest is where the body is going to adapt from the training, subsequently increasing athletic performance.

Research suggests that adult athletes who less than 2 rest days per week were 5.2 x more likely to attain an overuse injury (Ristolainen et al., 2014).Highlighting the importance of rest.

After a bout of intense exercise there are several ways of helping the recovery process which focuses on some basic fundamentals:

  1. Cool down – performing some form of active recovery after the match/training – light jogging followed by some stretches and mobility work. Foam rolling can also be performed.
  2. Post exercise Nutrition and Nutrition overall – After a bout of intense exercise (i.e match or training session) ensure you consume sugary snack or beverage to help energy stores (glycogen stores) and help aid protein synthesis. Ideally a sugary drink containing protein is ideal for recovery processes such as flavoured milkshakes (chocolate/ strawberry etc) which will aid in the replenishment of energy substrates and repair of the body.
  3. Maintaining hydration and nutrition throughout the day
  4. SLEEP! – is fundamental for recovery! Ensure you achieving aprox 8 hours and power naps can also be advantageous.


Research from Mileski (2012) suggest that adolescents who slept ≥8 hours were 68% less likely to get injured than those who did not achieve those hours. Therefore it is important that you are achieving a good consistent number of hours of sleep (aprox 8 hours) as this may reduce the likelihood of injury and will improve the recovery process.

Focusing on the fundamentals of good amounts of sleep and good nutrition will aid the recovery process. However do not neglect other aspects of your life such as:

  • social life (friends and family,
  • hobbies,
  • education
  • relaxation (music, reading, art, computer games etc.)!

Unfortunately everything cannot always revolve around sport therefore is it fundamental you create the optimal balance as health is the main priority!

You may exercise for a few hours a day, however you are in control of what you do in the remaining hours of 24 hour a day. Ensuring you do the mentioned things above (sleep, nutrition, stretch/mobility/foam rolling) should improve the recovery process, reducing the risk of injury and allow optimal performance for the next training bouts.

Thomas Dos’Santos,

BSc(Hons), CSCS


Faigenbaum., A. (2004). Maximize recovery. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 26(4), 77-78

Milewski, M. D. (2012, October). Lack of Sleep Is Associated with Increased Risk of Injury In Adolescent Athletes. In 2012 AAP National Conference and Exhibition. American Academy of Pediatrics.

Ristolainen, L., Kettunen, J. A., Waller, B., Heinonen, A., & Kujala, U. M. (2014). Training-related risk factors in the etiology of overuse injuries in endurance sports. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness54(1), 78-87.