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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Tim Sherwood stuck in the past

Sherwood stuck in the past

I have seen plenty of articles recently surrounding Tim Sherwood suggesting Spurs have got their recruitment 'spot-on' because, basically, we sign one player from a lower league, Dele Alli, and promote youth.

His article in the Telegraph though is rather contradictory as he basically says that analytics are a waste of time. This is exactly the problem I talked about many times in previous posts discussing the use of sports psychologists. Some people like to cling to the past, this is how it was done in my day as a player so this is how it should be done now. Spurs don't just use scouts eyes, we embrace analytics.

Everyone in the game would agree that a player needs to be seen with the naked eye and Tim Sherwood was excellent in his development role for us. The problem with a solely eye approach is that you have to totally trust your scouts. You can not do everything yourself and when you are scouting, you are not working with your players, there is travelling to and from scouting games to consider, it isn't just a 90-minute exercise. What then if your trusted 'eyes' leaves for another club? Now you have to build trust again with someone else, it isn't an instant thing, which is detrimental to the club you are managing.

Times change and things move forward, analytics are here to stay. The only question how we use them. They are certainly a huge aid to searching for players, not only can you watch every game recorded from anywhere in the world, but you can break it down any way you like, visually or statistically. You can then compare against previous or past performance to see if what you saw was typical of the player. Analytics are not a tool for taking over scouting but they certainly are an aid. Football is still learning how best to use then so there is scope for some clubs to be better than others using them.

Tottenham far from taking the Sherwood approach embrace them. Rob MacKenzie wrote an article while at Leicester City about how he is introducing them, obviously he has brought his forward-thinking views and practices to Tottenham, we have after all employed him for a reason. Couple that with Paul Mitchell, who as we all know uses analytics to identify players and Mitchell appointing two new scouts for Spain and Portugal who use analytics to support their coaching, and you see Tottenham continue to believe in analytics, the opposite of Sherwood's views.

As with anything is life, you can not do it all yourself, there are only 24 hours in a day, you have to let go, delegate and find the most efficient way of operating. Man hours are not the most efficient method of operation in many cases. While the overall concept of what Sherwood says is right, eyes should make the final decision, it is more to it than that.

An expected goals statistics, a statistic that looks at how often a player was in a position to score but didn't is important to determine how many chances a striker needs before he scores. Your eyes and your mind don't record that accurately, you are guessing, a statistic and a showreel can determine how deadly a striker is and that is useful to know. You don't base a transfer solely on that, but you should take it into account and it may well help you unearth a gem that hasn't come to people's attention yet, especially if they are in a team who struggle to create chances.

People with open minds will always fare better than people with closed minds, one embraces improvement, one is reluctant to it. Mr Sherwood needs to open his mind a little more and embrace advancement, not fight against it.

Further Tottenham Reading
The Townsend U-21 debate
Dembele type not a January signing - striker turned midfielder looks more of a summer signing
Stats suggest Spurs will finish above Chelsea - Chelsea will not make the top 4
Shots leading the league - a look at shooting, Spurs are the most accurate team in the league and Harry Kane the most accurate striker
Lloris: A punching analysis - link to an excellent article that reveals Lloris punches more than any other keeper in the top 5 European leagues


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