The collection, analysis and exploitation of footballer attributes: A systematic review

Ed Wakelam, Volker Steuber, James Wakelam

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There is growing on-going research into how footballer attributes, collected prior to, during and post-match, may address the demands of clubs, media pundits and gaming developers. Focusing upon individual player performance analysis and prediction, we examined the body of research which considers different player attributes. This resulted in the selection of 132 relevant papers published between 1999 and 2020. From these we have compiled a comprehensive list of player attributes, categorising them as static, such as age and height, or dynamic, such as pass completions and shots on target. To indicate their accuracy, we classified each attribute as objectively or subjectively derived, and finally by their implied accessibility and their likely personal and club sensitivity. We assigned these attributes to 25 logical groups such as passing, tackling and player demographics. We analysed the relative research focus on each group and noted the analytical methods deployed, identifying which statistical or machine learning techniques were used. We reviewed and considered the use of character trait attributes in the selected papers and discuss more formal approaches to their use. Based upon this we have made recommendations on how this work may be developed to support elite clubs in the consideration of transfer targets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-67
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Sports Analytics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022


  • Footballer analytics
  • Attribute selection and capture
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning


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