How does technology affect the processes of a modern recruitment team? In the final part of this series, Wolves head of recruitment John Marshall explains how video is key in his club's worldwide scouting operation.
The ways in which technology has changed football over the last decades is always a hot topic when talking with somebody as experienced as John Marshall is. “I first started scouting in 1999,” Marshall recounts, “and there was no video, no footage. It was all live. We didn’t have the base knowledge.”
“When Wyscout first came along, it was a revolution, really. Because we could then look at games, players, territories that we’d never seen before. Now, the more information I can get and present to the management to eradicate potential poor players coming in the building, the better. And I always ask the question to my guys: what’s the next step?”
Apparently, one of the mandatory steps Wolves will have to take is to build a strong squad underneath the first team, meaning the U17s, U18s and U23s. “And the only way we can do that initially is by using video. Get the footage and get the information into our database, because there’s so much competition in those age groups.”
What happens when there’s a youth competition halfway around the world? “Often, to get someone out live would be too expensive. So, we divide up all the games and the scouts watch those games to identify the best talent. At times, you don’t always get the talent straight away because of work permit issues. But it’s critical if there are European teams to work on the wide-scale, highlight those talented players and then follow up with live scouting when they come back to Europe.”
The possibility to scout players through video has also an obvious impact on finances, an aspect that every Head of Recruitment has to deal with. “Video scouting saves precious money from our budget,” confirms Marshall. “Sending a couple of scouts for the length of a tournament in Brazil would mean two return flights accommodation for the duration of the tournament. When we have a team of scouts in the building that can download the game, do the work and get the report in 24 hours.
We haven’t got that cost element of live scouting that can come later when we’ve highlighted the young talented players through the video footage.”
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