31st October 2021. West Ham United thrash Aston Villa away from home 4-1 to stay fourth in the English Premier League after ten games. According to BBC Sport it is their best start to a top flight season since 1975/76.
It was a game dominated by graduates of their Academy. The first goal scored by right-back Ben Johnson and second by captain and fellow Academy graduate Declan Rice.
West Ham United used Coach Logic for all age groups in their Academy ranging from U9s to U23s between the years of 2014 and 2020. Two of the many active players who used the platform were Ben Johnson and Declan Rice.
This first tweet and images, posted on the 14th March 2019 when Declan made his England debut, show Declan's own tagging panel that he set up for himself. It's interesting to look back on what he wanted to work on as a player.
The tags he set up were: 1v1 Defending, 1 Touch Play, Positioning Good and Bad, Forward Passing Good, Good Composure, Heading. It's worth noting that the process used by West Ham was to share a private video copy of different matches to relevant players. The players would then create their own tagging panel and press the tags and communicate directly with their mentor according to their Individual Development Plans. Terry Westley, the Academy Manager, at the time explained in this video.
Recently on Match of the Day Two former Premier League midfielder Danny Murphy highlighted Declan Rice's all-round playing prowess:
"His quality grew in the game. He is gaining more confidence when he has the ball in terms of his attacking intent. He is developing that side of his game. He's very capable of scoring more goals. He's like a Rolls-Royce in full flow, with an elegant running style. His fitness levels are beyond belief. He is a leader for this team. They have good strength in depth now, but he is the one player they can't be without. Right now, he is so important to them and he is going to go on to bigger and better things because he is such a wonderful player."
Following Rice's West Ham debut in 2017 which we acknowledged in the tweet above, Ben Johnson broke through into the West Ham first team a couple of years later.
The tweet below shows a screenshot from Ben's own platform (image number 3). The top right image from the tweet is from our database and shows Ben's membership of the various West Ham platforms from U15s to the U23s.
With Premier League footballers there are so many variables and sliding door moments that allow them to get to where they are.
There are obviously coaches, family, teachers, friends etc who all influence along the way, but it is nice to think that Coach Logic could be added to this long list as a development tool which aided their potential and allowed them to play, and indeed, thrive in the Premier League.