Richard Bredice is first-team opposition analyst at Manchester City. He has been at the Premier League club for five years.
Richard’s current focus is on full-team analysis rather than individual players but he has a good grounding in talent identification and highlights the importance of understanding the needs and culture of the club you may be scouting for in his list of key points.
1) UNDERSTAND THE NEEDS OF YOUR CLUB
It is crucial to know what your club needs and ask yourself “can the players I am watching supplement or improve what you already have?’.
For example, if you are looking to recruit a certain position, it’s important to know more than just ‘we need a striker’.
Know the profile of striker you need, what will he be required to do? Does he need to be mobile or be able to hold the ball? It’s important to be aware of what is needed but do not become totally blinkered by that.
Be open to things you may not have wanted. If you solely focus on a few strict ideas, you can miss the bigger picture or other key elements. Which leads us nicely on to point two.
2) SCOUT WITH A CLEAN SLATE
Always report on what you see that day rather than what you did before – no preconceptions. This can be difficult, especially when you consider my next point.
3) WATCH TARGETS IN DIFFERENT CONDITIONS
It is important to see potential targets in a variety of environments: night games, against big teams, away games, tough venues to play.
A player’s personality is very important, so give importance to off-the-ball actions and reactions. Mistakes are inevitable in football as it’s humans playing, not robots.
Character and personality are important parts of the game. Whatever has happened in the match before, it cannot affect what’s to come.
If a winger fails to beat the full back in a 1v1 and that’s his game – does he have the personality to try again or does he always pass back after that? How do players react after a tough 50/50 tackle? A player not fully committing to a 50/50 tackle or not getting on the ball again quickly after receiving a strong tackle would be a negative reaction.
5) FACTOR IN THE LEVEL YOU ARE WATCHING AND WATCHING FOR
Always remember the level of the game you are watching. If a player stands out at their level, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are good enough for the level you are scouting for.
There are so many variables to consider when trying to evaluate whether a player is suitable for the level of the team you are scouting for. Having a rigorous structure in terms of knowing what you want from each position will give you a better chance of evaluating a player’s suitability to step up from a Championship club to Premier League, for example.
Richard Bredice – first-team opposition analyst at Manchester City and PFSA Member
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