PREMIER LEAGUE stars are turning to a former undercover cop to help them in their line of duty on the pitch.
Mark Bowden spent his early career busting some of the most dangerous organised crime gangs in the country.
Mark Bowden is now helping footballers reach their potentialCredit: https://www.instagram.com/officialmarkbowden/
But the boy in blue is now a sports mental performance coach — and has the Prem’s elite queuing up to engage his services.
Bowden insists techniques employed by Special Branch officers are exactly what players need to make the most of their careers.
And he claims he could have saved West Ham a big hit on Sebastien Haller last summer.
Bowden told SunSport: “I was a covert operative with the serious organised crime agency up in London. I spent about ten years working on various operations.
“The crossover looks a big change but it’s not — because when you know how the brain works, it doesn’t matter what the stimulus to the stress is.
“At the end of the day, when I would be deployed in the field and leading operations on some of the biggest criminal networks in the UK, when you’re out there, you’re performing to the best you can possibly perform in a highly stressful situation.
“A footballer has to do exactly the same thing, perform in a highly- pressurised situation.
“Every time these players aren’t performing to their best, it has nothing at all to do with ability — and everything to do with what’s going on inside their brain.
Bowden believes he could have helped West Ham develop their former striker Sebastian HallerCredit: Getty
“If we are in the wrong part of the brain, I call it the red brain, it dulls down the sensory cortex.
“The sensory cortex is responsible for our awareness and acknowledging our environment, so we miss the runs of the opposition or our team-mates.
“But it also builds down the motor cortex.
“So all those automatic instincts that we have of a footballer controlling a ball without even thinking about it, all that now starts to break down.
“Just the way you think, the way you move or what you’re focusing upon, you release chemicals.
“And those chemicals can be performance-destroying. Or they can be, as I say to my players, the naturally-occurring, performance-enhancing chemicals we can actually produce in our brain.
“This will give us more energy, more natural focus and allow our motor functions to perform to the best of our abilities.”
The former cop is now transferring his skills into footballCredit: https://www.instagram.com/officialmarkbowden/
Bowden now has a waiting list of players desperate to work with him, after word of mouth spread around the game following the impact he has made with stars — some of whom are Premier League winners and seasoned internationals.
They approach him via direct message on Instagram or through his Fearless Footballer app, looking to find an edge to develop their game in a way the majority of clubs ignore.
The former cop says he is stunned clubs still ignore the mental side of the game — and claims he could have saved West Ham a fortune if he was able to work with Ivory Coast forward Haller, who they sold for a £17million loss to Ajax last summer.
Sebastian Haller cut short his West Ham nightmare to join AjaxCredit: Getty
And Bowden added: “How many clubs can honestly say they invest? And how many really are just gambling?
“They get a player in and they’re trying to get him in the peak physical way of being able to play. But they do very little to help with what’s going on inside their brain.
“The brain hates change, because it’s a threat. And then we go into that way of thinking.
“So a player comes in, expects to be able to shine like he did at his previous club, but how many times do we see that?
“Sebastien Haller is a prime example. He lost West Ham about £20m in 18 months.
“If you look at him, there was no injury or anything. His ability was unquestionable. And there was nothing wrong with his ability.
“But it was his ability to show it on the pitch that wasn’t. That is 100 per cent down to his brain.
“And if I was working with Haller, then I would have saved them at least £20m.
“I say at least, because then it is not a case of how much do they drop, or stopping them from dropping — it is about the improvements they actually make.”
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