Older Footballer ID: Finding Ghosts

Spotting the long-term learners

With the FA now helping clubs improve their approach to talent identification and the likes of Southampton running the world’s first biological age tournament, there are some signs that the penny is starting to drop. In terms of the players we have in academies, England are probably the strongest we have ever been but we can improve the way we look for ‘ghosts’. Players who hit the heights have different pathways. We have to recognise that, rather than thinking at 16 it’s too late for our boys to develop, so let’s go abroad and buy somebody. Performance is not the only indicator: “There are many factors, but ultimately, we need to be patient with kids and spot the long-term learners. That’s where the big gains are.”

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