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What football scouts look for in football Players

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Talent Identification: What football scouts look for in football Players

In simple words, football scouts are looking for players that can benefit a specific team or club they work for. They are the building bricks that form a successful starting 11 and team because they have to find the right mix of players to reach success.

However in the modern game, things have changed a lot and so here are the five (5) main things every scout will look for in a football player.

MUST READ: What are Football Scouts?

5 Things Scouts Look For At A Football Trial

1. Technique

The way you deal with the ball is a huge factor in football. Technique is an overall attribute in football that includes your touch and finesse, your passing and shooting abilities, your dribbling and one on one skills and more.

2. Physical Attributes

Nowadays, footballers are physical machines, strength wise and cardio wise. Football has always been a physical sport but, modern soccer has taken this factor to the next level.

3. Tactical Awareness

Learning how the game works should be your priority to get scouted in football. Sometimes this can be overseen but many would say that scouts are paying specific attention to this because it is the attribute that can take the longest for you to learn.

4. Competitiveness and Hunger

You have to want it, you have to show that the fire to become a footballer is within you.

Is very easy to spot a kid that would do anything to become a professional soccer player compared to a kid that simply plays and would like to become Pro.

Things like character, effort, presence, abilities to overcome bad situations, voice and more, can be seen from the outside by a scout.

5. Overall Behaviour

A good impression can go a thousand miles. This is like everything in life, football is a job, and you should always behave yourself and specially in a job environment.

You have to make it easy for your teammates, coaches, scouts and agents to interact and deal with you.

However, each position in football be it goalkeeping, midfield, forward, wing etc has its own talent identification ID and scouts will need to see that.


What Football Scouts look for in football players in a given position

1. What scouts look for in a goalkeeper

Playing in goal is the loneliest position on a football pitch. If you make a mistake, this often leads to a goal. Therefore Goalkeepers must have great mental toughness and concentration levels. The key attributes a scout looks for in a goalkeeper include:

  • Aerial ability
  • Command of the penalty area
  • Communication with defence
  • Decision Making
  • Distribution
  • Good reflexes
  • Handling
  • One-on-one ability
  • Positioning
  • Shot Stopping

2. What football scouts look for in a full back

The modern game has seen a shift from fullbacks to wingbacks. Meaning…Wide defenders need to be more athletic nowadays so they can regularly join attacks. The technical attributes a scout looks for in a fullback include:

  • Anticipation
  • Crossing
  • Marking ability
  • Pace
  • Stamina
  • Tackling ability
  • Team responsibility
  • The timing of forward runs
  • Work rate


3. What Football scouts look for in a centre back

Long gone are the days when a tall route one centre back. Who was praised for clearing his lines by kicking the ball as far up the pitch as possible. Nowadays scouts are looking for more…Central defenders must also be able to control the ball and instigate attacks. Understanding when to clear the ball is still important. However…Having the ability to clear the ball to a teammate, requires awareness and great reading of the game. The main attributes a scout looks for in a Central Defender are:

  • Ball Control (becoming more important for defenders)
  • Bravery in attempting challenges
  • Concentration
  • Communication
  • Height
  • Position
  • Reading of the game
  • Speed
  • Strong and accurate ball heading (defensive and attacking)
  • Tackling ability

It is key for a center back to know when to hold up an attack or dive into a challenge. But, this can be developed by training.


4. What football scouts look for in a midfielder

Central midfield is one of the most difficult positions in football. You will often find that the most complete footballer plays in this position. Not only must they be able to control the game. They must also have stamina and defensive abilities to break down opposing attacks. It is fair to say that central midfielders need to be able to do everything. However…The main attributes a scout will be looking for are:

  • Awareness
  • Ball control
  • Breaking into the opposing box
  • Marking abilities
  • Passing ability under pressure
  • Positioning
  • Stamina
  • Tackling and defensive abilities
  • Vision

All in all, a central midfielder needs to control the play and is the glue that holds the team together. Think: Lampard, Pirlo, Steven Gerrard, Scholes, Xavi, Iniesta and you will understand the qualities needed.

5. What football scouts look for in a winger or wide midfielder

Wingers or wide midfielders are often the most exciting players on the pitch. Nothing gets the crowd on their feet more than when a pacey tricky winger go past a fullback. Scouts are no different. A player with blistering pace is an exciting option for any football recruiter. Other attributes scouts look for in wide players are:

  • Pace
  • Technical ability like dribbling and close control
  • Off-the-ball intelligence
  • Creativity
  • Crossing
  • Decision Making
  • Vision

6. What football scouts look for in a striker

The main thing scouts want to see in a striker is Goals. Are you a natural finisher? Do you hesitate in front of goal, or strike with confidence without looking up. These skills show awareness of your position on the pitch and a strikers instinct. Goals win games, and that’s why attacking players receive the highest salaries in the game. However, Scouts also want to assess a players movement off the ball. Do they make well-timed runs, creating space for teammates. Is the player strong enough to hold off defenders and hold up the ball? The main skills a scout looks for in a striker are:

  • Confidence
  • Composure
  • Finishing ability
  • Heading ability
  • Off-the-ball intelligence
  • Pace
  • Relative Strength
  • Technical ability

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