Tom Barkhuizen happy to put the hard yards in for Preston North End

Preston's Tom Barkhuizen
Preston's Tom Barkhuizen

Tom Barkhuizen admits the first thing he checks after a match is the distance he has covered.

Barkhuizen, 26, ran more than 9km in Saturday’s win against Brentford – a game he played 81 minutes of and scored the second goal in.

He sees the runnings stats as a key part of his game, hence a strong interest in studying the data.

“The first thing I do after a game is see how far I have run,” said Barkhuizen.

“I check that I haven’t lost any pace, try and compare it to what I have done previously.

“I ran about 9km against Brentford, I didn’t play the full game so I was all right with that distance.

“These days there is so much data you can look at and analysis.

“We all wear a GPS tracker in the games which collects the data needed and it is easy to check afterwards.

“If you aren’t feeling too good before a game, you will see that reflected in your stats afterwards.

“But if you go into a game feeling brilliant, that will show up well in the stats – you 
tend to have covered more ground.

“I care about the amount of running I do, I just want to work hard for the team.

“If I play a full 90 minutes, my stats will be between the 10km and 11km mark.

“I’m usually up there in the top three runners.

“Alan Browne is always up there, Daniel Johnson is too when he plays further up – he covers a lot of ground.

“Sean Maguire will be up there too.

“You build a team around a group of players and you play to their strengths.

“One of my strengths is how hard I work.

“I’m not going to drop in and play as a No.10 because I would lose the ball a lot. But I know me running in behind teams will stretch the game and help us that way.

“I did that well playing as a No.9 against Brentford and in the Stoke game.

“It’s something I do playing wide too.”

Barkhuizen added more distance to his stats when he was substituted on Saturday.

A new rule introduced this season is that players who are substituted are meant to leave the pitch near to where they are rather than go over the halfway line.

The ref made Barkhuizen leave the pitch in front of the Sir Tom Finney Stand and walk round to the dugout.

“That probably hit my stats, slowed them down,” said Barkhuizen.

“I knew the rule about where you are meant to go off but I’d forgotten about it in the heat of the game.

“The ref made me go off on the far side because I was over there and then walk round the pitch – I just wanted to get sat down!”