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Spotting Talent - Ali's Words

On our latest Iceland tour, we were discussing the concept of spotting football talent. We had around thirty to forty players on the pitch in Iceland and they were all good players. When you’re doing identification camps at this level, you hardly come across any bad players; they are all physically fit and technically skilled. So the question is, how do you as a coach or a scout distinguish between the good players and the exceptional players? Let me give you some tips in this regard.

Interestingly enough, it doesn't take a lot to identify a star player. They always shine through. They do something different or unexpected with the ball which catches the attention of the coach or the scout. So the distinct qualities of thinking out of the box and daring to take a risk are what set a star player apart.

Another very important but underrated aspect of football is movement, both with and without the ball. I cannot emphasize its importance enough. Have you noticed that the best players on a team always seem to have more time? The reason they have more time is that they have the ability to find space. Therefore, when they receive the ball, they automatically have more time with it than everyone else. So you’ve got to understand this phenomenon. Movement creates space and space gives you time which in turn allows you more control over the ball. And naturally, when you’re calm and composed, you can make better smarter decisions.

Small details make a huge difference to the overall game and young players must understand their significance. When you go on a trail and want your talent to be noticed, you need to understand the dynamics of the game. Keeping them in view, focus on your movement, find the space, and then take a risk and be spotted.

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