With the second part of our series focused on Europe, we discover how the use of cutting-edge technology alongside the very latest data insights and Artificial Intelligence have become vital components in helping CFG to identify the cream of the continent’s footballing talent.
Director of Football Txiki Begiristain, Managing Director of Global Football Brian Marwood and key figures from City’s scouting and data insights teams, discuss the technical and tactical aspects that make a player attractive to City.
“Investing in data and science has been a fundamental change in many people’s thinking,” Marwood asserts.
“A City player could play between 50 and 60 games a season – so you are looking for players who are robust and who are comfortable in possession, whatever position they play in. They need to be comfortable with the ball.
“You want to get the right decision and eleminate mistakes.”
That point is amplified in second part of our SCOUT series by Brian Prestidge, Director of Data Insights and Design Technology.
“More data means more insights,” states Prestidge. “It helps people make better and quicker decisions.
“He was someone we could see had this potential to be an elite player.
“Once we went through all the processes, there was a consensus that he could be an elite player for Manchester City.
“The way Aymeric has joined in the squad has been fantastic - he’s been absolute asset to the Club.”
Armed with a global database of more than 500,000 players narrowing the field down to the elite few who can make the grade at City and our sister clubs is no mean feat.
But alongside the cutting-edge science, the incredible detailed knowledge and eye for talent accrued by our elite coaches also plays a huge part in identifying and nurturing talent.
That goes hand in hand with the application, desire and attitude imbued in all our top-level elite players.
As a prime example of that process, Brian Marwood pointed to the impact of Ukrainian international left-back Oleks Zinchenko who has played a key part in our success over the past few season.
“You look at someone like Oleks. An incredible pick up,” Marwood points out.
“He was someone our scouts picked up, we tracked, and we thought ‘This is interesting.’ He went to PSV Eindhoven on loan as a midfield player and hardly played.
“Oleks came back here having hardly played and Pep’s not just seen a player – he’s seen a left back.”
James Smith, Senior Scouting and Recruitment Manager, adds: “We didn’t necessarily predict he would play 50 60 games in two title winning teams – but that is down to his ambition, professionalism and willingness to learn.”
In perfecting the recipe for scouting success and identifying the very best, alongside that technical excellence, the athleticism required to succeed at the highest level in Europe and beyond is also fundamental.
“At the level we are talking about with City its extreme technical ability that gets people excited but physical attributes are also very important too,” Smith adds.
“Look at Phil Foden and what he’s gone through in terms of physical development and what Pep has done is developed that,” Brian Marwood points out.
“He gets just enough pitch time, just enough time on the training ground and the right amount of rest to make sure that his body is going to be robust to play until he’s 35.”
SCOUT is a four-part documentary, which focuses on City’s work in South America, Europe, the United States and the Rest of the World.
All four episodes are available to watch exclusively on CITY+ from Friday 5 February.
To find out more about CITY+ and sign up, HERE.