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Gary Neville, Tyrone Mings and Thierry Henry back VR training startup Rezzil

Barcelona's Thierry Henry celebrates a goal against Malaga at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona in 2009
Barcelona's Thierry Henry celebrates a goal against Malaga at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona in 2009. Photo: Reuters/Albert Gea (Albert Gea / reuters)

Some of the biggest names in football have backed virtual reality elite sports training startup Rezzil, with investors including the likes of Thierry Henry, Gary Neville, Vincent Kompany, Michail Antonio, Tyrone Mings and Anthony Watson.

The company is launching a new platform, Player 22, which was designed and tested by UEFA pro licensed coaches.

Following a fundraising of around £2m, it will be available to the public on Thursday 5 August and is compatible with the Oculus Quest VR headset.

Rezzil has said it wants to revolutionise in-home gaming through the launch and that it is already the virtual training and rehab aid of choice for the world’s top football clubs, including those in the Premier League.

Rezzil Elite, for pro athletes, offers tools for post-match analysis, virtual training and rehabilitation, with the ability to monitor and track players’ recovery.

Its drills complement field work by simulating game pressure scenarios and enhancing decision making, situational awareness and technical ability.

Image: Rezzil
Image: Rezzil

Player 22 now makes this an option for those who want to play at home.

The platform provides a range of sport-based games designed to improve cognitive performance, concentration, reaction times, coordination and control.

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The company has previously earned praise for its use of VR to combat the potential risks of heading in football, by recreating heading in a virtual setting. Using the headset, players are able to practice heading without the repeated impacts of the ball to the head, particularly useful for young footballers who are more at risk due to weaker neck muscles and a larger head-to-neck ratio.

A screen grab from in-game training. Image: Rezzil
A screen grab from in-game training. Image: Rezzil

“As a father, I can see the appeal of Rezzil for children and it’s exciting as a parent because the combination of e-sport and traditional sport means they’re being healthy and active when they’re playing as opposed to a sedentary game,” said Thierry Henry.

“I’ve been involved in football for many years but I honestly believe Rezzil is one of the most promising technologies to enter the sport.”

The beauty of Player 22, says Gary Neville, is that it democratises access to top-level training and allows the user to train at their own pace and in the comfort of their own home.

“As a training aid, it can be used anywhere, which allows players of all levels, who may not otherwise have access to a pitch or others to work with, to train in their own time, at their own pace."

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