TALKING TACTICS: Starting line-up remains strong

Kieran Trippier
Kieran Trippier
Share this article

SCOUT Phil Smith looks at Burnley’s activity in the January transfer window.

WITH expenditure down almost 70% on the same period in 2011, it would be fair to say that the transfer window closed with barely a whimper.

The imminent FFP ruling from UEFA undoubtedly had a role to play in this new found prudence, but I would not class it as the deciding factor.

Evidence suggests that acquisitions in January are akin to a game of Roulette. The selling club can sense an air of desperation, and the asking price is invariably heightened as a result.

Afonso Alves is still much maligned on Teeside, four years after his big money move from Heerenveen. He went AWOL and netted a mere thirteen goals during his time at Middlesbrough, before being flogged at a loss to Al-Sadd. Granted, his is an extreme case, but you very rarely get value for money when you splash the cash halfway through the season.

Even if you are adamant as to the ability of a player, he is unlikely to settle into the team before the beginning of the next campaign.

Football is a global sport but the game varies from country to country. For example, La Liga is based on technique, whilst the English game traditionally enjoys a high tempo and increased physical demands.

A quick glance at our squad provides ample analysis of our achievement on the transfer front. By keeping hold of Rodriguez, and securing permanent deals for both Trippier and Mee, our first XI is undoubtedly one of the strongest in the division.

Trippier claimed his sixth assist of the season at Forest last week, equalling the 2010/2011 total of Tyrone Mears, with over a third of the season to go. It would be splitting hairs to compare the two, but based on his superior tackling ability, we have probably got a better player, at a fraction of the price.

The loan of Josh McQuoid makes the injury situation with Paterson and Stanislas manageable, whilst Zavon Hines chomps at the bit to make a positive impression when called upon. He hasn’t featured much thus far at Turf Moor, but his creativity, pace and dribbling ability leave me as a keen admirer, and when he gets in the team, Howe will be hard pressed to shift him.

However, that being said, I am not entirely satisfied with our activity in January. We have adequate cover in every department except central midfield, and I cannot shake the feeling that we should have strengthened this particular area.

An injury will leave us exceptionally vulnerable and I would hate to see the season peter out as a result of inadequate strength in depth.

Finances may have forced our hand with respect to a permanent addition, but the loan window opening tomorrow would be a more than useful avenue to explore.

“When recommending a player, what qualities do you look for in a full-back?” (Ian Radcliffe)

It is of paramount importance that, as a scout, you provide your manager with as much background information as possible, Ian.

Attitude, personality and consistency must be considered, regardless of the player’s position on the field. Inconsistency is a threat which needs to be guarded against. It is of no use making a judgment after one appearance, he may just have had an excellent game.

However, if we are talking in general terms, then stamina, tackling, anticipation, pace, marking ability, responsibility and work rate are the key factors you need to assess.