Hail the Red Bull pathway: SCOUT NOTES, January 23rd
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The price of a pint will give you complete, unrestricted access to everything we do and have on here every month. That is the best way to take in SCOUTED Notebook. Anyway, onto the actual news of this letter…
The value of hiring an England coach
In the same week that Troy Deeney accused Forest Green Rovers of exploiting him for his “contacts” after being sacked six (winless) games into his first management gig, the value of having genuine contacts was highlighted at Plymouth Argyle.
They’ve not long appointed Ian Foster – having been assistant to Steven Gerrard out in Saudi Arabia for the past six months – as their head coach. He arrives in Devon with no less than six years worth of experience behind him as an England age-group coach and, consequently, the pick of a strong pool of loan-ready youngsters that he’s worked with in the past.
Spurs’ Ashley Phillips was first through the door, then Leeds’ Darko Gyabi and Spurs’ Alfie Devine – the latter two being members of Foster’s England squads that won the UEFA U-19 EURO in 2022 and competed at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2023.
All three started in Argyle’s (no, not the Todd Boehly one, he hasn’t got to us… yet) 3-1 home win against Cardiff over the weekend, and they’ll likely start games for the remainder of the season.
It’s very similar to what happened at Swansea City when they appointed Steve Cooper. His work as the England coach that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 meant Marc Guéhi, Conor Gallagher, Morgan Gibbs-White, Rhian Brewster and Joel Latibeaudiere all jumped at the chance to work under him again at club level, and their parent clubs were happy for him to have them.
When it comes to loans, clubs tend to trust coaches – so having a coach that has a history of developing young talent and establishing positive relationships with them is a significant advantage in a competitive market.
Adam Daghim is on the Red Bull fast track
Red Bull Salzburg are excellent at succession planning. That’s what defines them. Sure, they scout and recruit really well, but the way they establish (and protect) pathways for the young talent they bring in is what makes their model work as well as it does. The same can be said of Brighton.
Another example this season is Adam Daghim. Signed from Denmark last summer for a pretty chunky €3 million fee, Salzburg have expedited his progression through their system: impressive performances in the UEFA Youth League led to improved performances at FC Liefering, Red Bull’s entry-level affiliate in the Austrian second division.
Then came the winter break – subject of our last newsletter – which has seen Daghim bumped up to the senior squad and integrated into the first team, featuring (and scoring) in friendlies on their Spanish training camp. They also tied him down to another new contract which runs to 2028.
The second half of this season will (probably) see Daghim gradually installed into the first team in competitive matches, giving him more and more minutes as the games pass by. It’s preparation for a bigger role next season, when he’ll (probably) fill the void left by the big-money sales of Roko Šimić and Karim Konaté.
This is what Red Bull Slazburg do: they sign, develop, integrate, play, then sell, over and over again, with a constant stream of top-level talent ready to step up when the incumbent moves on.
We wrote about this a couple of weeks ago: Jürgen Klopp is probably the best elite-level coach when it comes to trusting his own.
Liverpool ended their 4-0 win away at Bournemouth on Sunday evening with three lesser-known youngsters on the pitch — Bobby Clark, Kaide Gordon, and a Premier League debutant in Owen Beck. They replaced another pair of academy-developed youngsters in Curtis Jones and Conor Bradley.
Six of the nine on Liverpool’s subs’ bench in that Bournemouth win had spent a significant period playing for the club’s academy sides, and it came a day after their U-18s thrashed Arsenal in the FA Youth Cup.
Chelsea Youth – a great follow on Twitter if you’re into academy football, not just Chelsea – made a good point that both Liverpool and Manchester City, the preeminent title challengers in this season’s Premier League, are running with squads that are trimmed of excess fat and bulked out by emerging talent that have pushed through their academies. That could well set a trend for coming seasons as club’s try to avoid falling foul of the spending rules.
As far as we’re concerned, that’s how academy players should be used – at least initially. It’s unrealistic to expect your academy to sit out European-level starters year after year, but they should be trusted to provide much-needed depth when the games and injuries pile up. Getting a Trent is a bonus.
The Football Manager Corner
Told you we’d come with a trendy title. Anyway, FC Nordsjælland’s Ibrahim Osman was our recommendation last week, and we’ve got another well-rouned wide forward for you this week.
Colombia is a hotbed of young talent in FM, particularly when the newgens start pushing through, but a name you should have on your shortlists from the start is Atlético Nacional’s Óscar Perea.
His FM24 profile is an exciting one: he’s far from the finished product but he comes equipped with an encouraging base set of skills right across the board, from the technical to the physical. It’s not hard to see how he could grow into a quality wide forward in five years time.
Whether you're a smaller club in a mid-level league or one of the elite talent-hoarding operations, Perea is worth a punt at roughly €1 million.
SCOUTED’s Reading List
The best things we consumed this week, and think you should too.
We’re biased, obviously, but our very own exclusive interview with Adam Wharton is really excellent. Phil and Tom travelled up to Manchester just before Christmas to talk Blackburn Rovers, his style of play, inspirations, aspirations, and so much more. The best bit? It’s free to read.
‘My life has been a struggle but I always come out on top’ – an Osasu Obayiuwana interview with Victor Osimhen in Abidjan, as he aims to fire Nigeria to their first AFCON title in 11 years.
This is a good listen from our good friend Jon Mackenzie at Tifo; he sat down with set-piece specialist Stuart Reid to discuss how dead balls are changing the modern game.
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