Why Middlesbrough's recruitment team are facing challenges when assessing transfer targets Neil Warnock explains scouting structure

Middlesbrough’s recruitment team are still analysing players abroad via video footage but manager Neil Warnock is wary of the risks.

Saturday, 13th March 2021, 7:30 am

Boro’s coaching and recruitment staff haven’t been able to watch overseas games live due to travel restrictions, which is posing challenges when trying to identify targets.

Warnock and his assistants, Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson, have regular meetings with the club’s recruitment team, with the Teessiders already looking at players who could be available this summer.

When asked by the Mail about the recruitment structure, Warnock said: “It’s very difficult because we can’t go and watch games at the moment.

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Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.
Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock.

“We have tried to watch a couple abroad in the last fortnight and we are not allowed to. Copenhagen I think we wanted to watch a game there and we weren’t allowed to do that, they were only allowed 15 members there with the Government.

“It's very difficult at the moment. We are looking at videos but it’s a dangerous way to go down. I could do you a video of a player and you’d think he was unbelievable.

“We watched one in the last couple of weeks who has been really recommended to us on a video and Ronnie watched him and said not for us really.

“If you see the good bits of his game he’s unbelievable, but when you look at the larger bits of his game he’s not for us.

“It’s one of those, they have to give us names, they’ve given us names. Sam who is the head of recruitment, he’s given us names. I think I had about 12 names last week but I’ve asked him to get that down to two or three from abroad.

“Also if possible I would like to get in people who have played in the Championship, people who have seen and done it.”

Warnock knows what positions he would most like to strengthen this summer and has passed his priorities onto Boro’s recruitment team.

“There are three in their office who are full time and I think there is one who works from home,” Warnock added.

“Ronnie and Kev go down most afternoons and have an hour with them and look at what’s cropping up.

“I had a meeting a few weeks ago and told them exactly what I was looking for so they are not wasting time looking at positions I’m not looking for and giving them the main positions.”

But while assessing players abroad via video footage, Warnock admits Boro may have to prioritise targets in England if they can’t watch games in person.

“It is difficult abroad, I think you have to look at the whole game when you see players from teams abroad,” Warnock added.

“I know it's difficult because of the lens of the camera, it’s difficult to look at the movement off the ball etc.

“We are looking in depth at people abroad but if I could I’d love to get someone that’s played in the Championship.

“I don’t think it’s a time for gambling again. You just can’t see the type of player we are looking for, there’s hardly any about really. We are going to be very lucky to get the right one, it’s not going to be easy.”

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