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Exclusive: Tottenham’s Latest Scout Reveals Game-Changing Plan to Boost Postecoglou’s January Transfer Window!

After leaving Aston Villa, Tottenham's new top scout began working this month. He has previously shared some trade secrets.

Rob Mackenzie, Tottenham’s new top scout, has already discussed the right use of statistics in transfers, which should provide some insight into how he plans to assist Ange Postecoglou in the next windows.

With modifications made by new chief football officer Scott Munn, the Spurs now have a totally different appearance off the field. Head of football insights and strategy Frederik Leth, chief scout Mackenzie, and technical director Johan Lange are the three new members of the recruitment staff, all of whom came from Aston Villa.

The thirty-eight-year-old Mackenzie has rejoined Tottenham, where he spent 19 months in 2015–16 as the head of player identification until Derby acquired him. Prior to his initial tenure at Tottenham, Mackenzie was a member of the Leicester City recruitment staff that helped transform the Foxes to the point where they won the Premier League in 2016, the year he moved to north London.

The collaboration that brought in players like Riyad Mahrez for £500,000 from Le Havre in the French second division and created the conditions for N’Golo Kante to arrive from Caen months after his departure included Mackenzie’s analytical approach. Additionally, Mackenzie traveled to Fleetwood Town to scout Jamie Vardy and assisted in Esteban.

In a 2017 interview series with Sky Sports, Mackenzie discussed the use of statistics in transfers—but only to a limited extent.

“Data is neutral, reliable and it allows you to assess a significant number of players in a time-efficient manner,” he stated. It gives you a way to find players and compare actual performance to expectations. Additionally, you may use it to compare profiles that are similar to one another, determine what else is on the market, and determine which players are most useful to your team.

“Having access to data and career biographies of players in competitions across the world is certainly empowering, but as with any resource available to you, it is important to acknowledge the level of insight that it can and cannot provide and place that into much needed perspective when making decisions. Anything in isolation tends to be insufficient.

“If I’m honest, I think I might have placed more emphasis on data alone in previous years but I have learned to understand that there is so much more to the probability of a player being a success at your club than their statistical output in isolation. In order to minimise the risk associated with signing a player the process should involve piecing together all the information you have collated in a manner that allows you to assess the suitability of a given player in direct relation to the remit set by management.”

He added: “In recent seasons we have seen clubs sign players with notable stats but it is important to remember there is a person behind the numbers. If their attitude towards a new challenge is not as reliable as their performance history, then the move may not succeed.

“I recall looking at a player who, among other things, scored 27 goals and provided eight assists in 40 games during his last season prior to a transfer. Since moving, however, he has followed that up with only seven goals and seven assists in 56 games at his new club.

 

“Is it that the player has suddenly become poor? Or is it more likely that he is experiencing a totally different challenge in his life? A new country, a new competition, higher expectations among better players and the pressure of a big transfer – maybe he’s struggling to adjust?

In any case, it may be said that he didn’t live up to expectations. Even though the player appears to be having difficulties lately, his character and theoretical skill level remain the same, and the result is noticeably different.”

According to Mackenzie, determining a player’s character and how they might adjust to a move up requires more than just looking at facts.

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