• Premier League

Ex-sprinter believes he can revitalise Torres

ESPN staff
November 30, 2012
Darren Campbell has offered to help Fernando Torres rediscover his speed © Getty Images

Former Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Darren Campbell has claimed he can fix Fernando Torres' goalscoring problems.

Torres' lack of form has been well documented since his £50 million move to Chelsea in 2011, with his pace in particular seeming to have dropped since his days at Liverpool.

And Campbell, who briefly worked with the Spain international during his first year at Stamford Bridge, believes the striker just needs a fortnight's specialist training to recover most of his speed.

"It's something that is best done in pre-season but I think Fernando just needs two weeks when he hasn't got to worry about playing on the Saturday and just put in a nice two-week training programme that I think would definitely bring the majority of his speed back," Campbell, who now works as a sprint coach in football and rugby union, told the Daily Telegraph.

"I'm sure I could fix him. It doesn't have to be a lengthy process because these guys are already extremely fit. That's the great thing about working with footballers and rugby players. You're not having to worry about the base fitness so you just go in and teach the raw speed.

"In the case of Fernando, I think he would also probably need to do a bit of weightlifting as well as the running and the speed drills to put some power back into his muscles. That's why sprinters lift weights, to gain that explosive speed and power.''

Campbell was first invited to work with Torres at the suggestion of Dr Bryan English, the then Chelsea medical director who the sprinter knew from his days as the UK Athletics doctor. However, the relationship came to an end when English was sacked by Andre Villas-Boas, upon his arrival as manager at Stamford Bridge.

"I only did about two or three sessions with Fernando but I could see his confidence coming back," Campbell said. "The biggest problem is that when you lose your speed you're unable to do what you used to be able to do, and so then you start trying harder and harder. But that can be counterproductive.

"If you want to be quick, there's an element of relaxation that's involved. You've only got to look at Gareth Bale. He runs at high speed but it's all relaxed and there's no tension in him. The problem with someone like Fernando Torres is that the harder he tries to find that speed, his efforts are actually detrimental."

This season Campbell has been working with Cardiff City, and in particular with striker Craig Bellamy on a programme designed to prevent hamstring problems.

In the past he has also helped return Jack Rodwell to fitness before his move from Everton to Manchester City in the summer.

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