Speed is a key component of modern day football in every area of the pitch and it can be an unforgiving sport if a player is a few yards too slow. Strikers have a serious advantage if they can sprint past their markers onto through balls, while defenders need to have a decent turn of pace if they want to keep up.
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Of course, speed over a distance is but one component of a player's arsenal and they must combine it with strength, fitness, game intelligence and skill on the ball. Nevertheless, a strong sprinter has a solid base from which to build.
So, who are the fastest players in the Premier League? GOAL takes a look at the top speedsters in the division as well as how they compare to other athletes.
Who is the fastest player in Premier League 2022-23?
Kyle Walker has long been considered to be among the fastest footballers on the planet, so it's little surprise to see him topping the speedsters chart for the 2022-23 Premier League season.
At the halfway point of the campaign, new Chelsea signing Mykhailo Mudryk was in the number-one spot with a top speed of 36.63 km/h. However, the Ukrainian was only good enough for third place in the end.
Nottingham Forest and Wales star Brennan Johnson was the second quickest player in the Premier League with a record speed of 36.70 km/h. Anthony Gordon narrowly beat out Darwin Nunez for fourth position, with the Liverpool forward rounding off the top five.
Arnaut Danjuma may have endured a difficult loan spell at Tottenham, but he did at least register a sprint speed of 36.34 km/h - the sixth-highest in the top flight. Matheus Nunes, Erling Haaland, Denis Zakaria and Reiss Nelson complete the top ten.
How do footballers compare with Olympic sprinters?
As athletes, footballers are required to sprint at high speeds over short distances, so how do they measure up against the fastest athletes on the planet? Well, not too badly, actually.
Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt is the fastest man ever to have lived, setting the record for the 100m sprint at 9.58 seconds in 2009. He also holds the second (9.63 secs) and third (9.69 secs) fastest times. Bolt, who is now retired, hit a fastest recorded top speed of 44.72 km/h, which is significantly faster than the top speed of modern footballers.
Marcell Jacobs, who won gold in the 2020 Olympics 100 metre sprint, has hit a top speed of 43.06 km/h, while Fred Kerley, who won silver at the same event, has clocked a speed of 42.8 km/h.
Interestingly, the fastest Premier League footballers tend to be faster than the fastest American footballers in NFL. For example, Devin Duvernay of the Ravens was the fastest NFL player in 2022 with a top speed of 34.76 km/h, which is 1.87 km slower than Mudryk's high speed in 2022.