Is scouting the most difficult job in the Premier League? We suppose it depends on what your brief is. If, for example, we had been sent to watch Glasgow Celtic three or four years ago, we would have noticed two standout players who we would recommend be playing at a top six club.

Yes folks, even back then, WSA could see that Victor Wanyama and Virgil van Dijk were good enough to be gracing the grass at Old Trafford or the Etihad, Stamford Bridge or White Hart Lane or even Anfield or the Emirates. The question, therefore, is; why the heck couldn’t scouts at any of the top six clubs see the same as we, and no doubt thousands of others, could see?

They can now, of course, and will continue to collect their inflated salaries secure in the knowledge that they have cost the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, who went on to buy Victor Wanyama only after he had been sold to Southampton, and Liverpool or Manchester City one of whom will probably buy van Dijk, again only after he had been sold to Southampton, many more millions than would have been necessary had they spotted them at Celtic which is, after all, their job is it not?

Today’s massively overrated and inflated transfer market and the wealth of the top clubs thanks to TV deals with the likes of Sky and BT means that £30 million is about the average for a decent player. Not world class, but good enough to provide and run and supply passes to the ones who are.

If, as is often said, all things are cyclical, then there will come a time when the Premier League is not the most watched and popular league in the world. When this happens, all of these scouts who have been telling Mourinho, Guardiola, Klopp, Conte, Wenger and Pochettino, how good Cristiano Ronaldo is and how good Lionel Messi is and how good Neymar is and how good Gareth Bale is, will have to go back to finding out how good Joe Jones is and how good Arthur Smith is and how good Alan Brown is and how good Michael Wilson is.

That may see some of them out of a job sooner than they think!



(Nathan Redmond reacts positively to the news that he will soon get his chance to captain England)

So Gareth Southgate thinks there should be four or five captains in the England team. No chance of creating any disconcert with that one then. Talk about asking for trouble! The tried and trusted way has always been to appoint the best man for the job and stick with him. Why is that suddenly now in question? Is Gareth so much of a nice guy that he wants everyone to have a go at being captain?

Apart from demeaning the job there are other disadvantages to this approach. Imagine a game where, for example, Gary Cahill is captain. He tries to do his best but is unable to put his heart and soul into it because he knows he won’t be captain for the next game. The rest of the team are wondering why they should pay any attention to him for the same reason.

The captain should be a leader. Wayne Rooney, for example, was not and is not a good captain as he is not a leader and cannot be considered to be a commanding figure. He got the job because his managers thought he could lead by example, a theory he has since emphatically disproved. He has also, inadvertently, embarrassed both club and country after both were stupid enough to give him the captaincy then both had to drop him because he forgot how to play football.

England do not currently have a commanding, vocal, leader-type in the squad so they have to do the next best thing which is pick a captain who can, unlike Rooney, “lead by example“. This would be somebody in the mould of David Beckham, not the most expressive but somebody at whom nobody could point a finger after the game and accuse of not trying.

But to hand the captaincy around almost on a rota basis is comical. The military must be watching this one with interest to see how successful they might be if they changed captains for every battle and how that would affect morale.

Find a leader, give him the captaincy and stick with it. Simple.


  1. Teddy Farrington says:

    One of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read. Professionals act professional, regardless of an arm band be it permanent or temporary.
    And the army comparison…? Seriously? An entertaining sport is not a war. Please don’t trivialise serious situations with crass analogies.


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