LONDON: England's World Cup squad could have a secret advantage this summer after players had their DNA tested to find out who is more injury prone.
Scientists carried out tests on players from two Premier League teams and a leading European club to discover the best training methods for individual footballers and who is most likely to get hurt.
Some of the players in the unnamed teams are tipped to compete in Brazil – where they hope their genes can match world great Pele.
The new research looked at 45 genes which determine players' power, endurance and likelihood of injury.
Dr Keith Grimaldi, who developed the test for UK firm DNAFit, said: “The genes concerned determine muscle capacity and inflammation, blood flow and protein processes – all important in training, recovery and injury.
"It allows coaches to design tailor-made training programmes for players. For instance, a players’ genes may reveal shorter recovery times from injury.”
The results, revealed in swabs from players’ mouths, also give an indication of whose muscles have less resistance to inflammation.
It means coaches can protect players with more physio and massage to avoid common injuries such as hamstring and groin strains.
Olympic athlete Jenny Meadows says she has already benefited from the testing.
Her DNAFit test revealed perfect genes for mid-distance runs, split between power and endurance.
The results helped Jenny switch from 400m to 800m in 2005 when her career took off.