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Believing In Youth

PUBLISHED

16:52 6th February 2014

Interview with new Academy Head of Recruitment

Adorning the corridors of the Compton training ground, are photographs of all who have emerged through the ranks at Wolves to progress from Academy to first team.

There are those who have moved on to bigger things elsewhere such as Robbie Keane and Joleon Lescott; those still flourishing at Molineux now such as Carl Ikeme and Danny Batth; and even those who have been and come back such as Leon Clarke.

The ambition of adding more photographs to the gallery currently on show is now in the hands of those who work for the highly-regarded Category One Academy.

And for the recently-appointed Head of Academy recruitment Kieran Scott, that is a challenge to both relish and embrace.

“Wolves are a massive club which has now found itself in League One, but it is a club which appealed to me because they strongly believe in youth,” says Scott.

“When I had the interview with Gareth (Prosser) Kevin (Thelwell), Stuart (Webber) and then Jez (Moxey), they were all really vocal about the proportion of first team players they wanted to come from the Academy, which was music to my ears.

“In my position all you are asking for is for players to be given that opportunity.

“Having Category One status, and the new indoor dome under construction, is a big part of it, as well as the club wanting to challenge the likes of Aston Villa, West Brom, Stoke and Birmingham in the local area.

“That is something I feel I can do.

“In my last position at Burnley I was often up against scouts from Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Everton, Bolton, Huddersfield, Blackburn, Preston – and many more.

“I am used to the challenge of fighting for players and we were really successful at Burnley when we did that.

“We were aggressive in our approach and went for the players young to try and instil into them what the club was all about and get them involved at an early stage.

“That’s what I will try and do at Wolves.

“I want to be at a club like Wolves which really believe in youth and it has also got the facilities and staff to back that up.”

Scott arrives at Molineux with substantial experience in recruitment over almost a decade already.

After ambitions of a playing career with Ipswich were ended early due to injury, an interest in the tactical and talent identification side of the game saw Scott start working for the Scout 7 company carrying out first team assessments for many different clubs.

That led to a position at Bournemouth working under Eddie Howe and Jason Blake, and then Southampton, where he started to specialise in Academy recruitment.

From there Scott landed the role of Head of Academy Recruitment at Burnley, the position he has now taken up at Wolves, starting last December.

There are already many players he has already spotted who have enjoyed international success at junior level or progressed to first team football.

Many of the intake of scholars at Burnley even now will have been taken on via his recommendation, but his complete focus now is on producing similar results at Wolves.

With that Category One status, and working for a department headed up by Stuart Webber, Scott believes it is an exciting time to be involved in recruitment at Molineux.

“Stuart has come from Liverpool and has an excellent background,” he says.

“He is very good at what he does bringing in the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jerome Sinclair at Liverpool to name but a few.

“It was an appeal for me to come and work with Stuart, and I look forward to utilising the continued support offered by Stuart and the department.

“Category One gives us the ability to go out and scour the country in looking for the best players.

“We will be in a position to sign them because we will have a schooling side to the Academy that only Category One clubs can have.

“And the Cat One games programme is a massive factor when recruiting any player.

“You also come up against the top clubs every week which is good for pulling players in from overseas and getting players to re-locate from elsewhere in this country.

“For me player recruitment has been something which always interested me even during my playing days, from my early scouting career I had to balance off many different jobs to be able to go off scouting and staying up writing reports late into the night whilst travelling around the country.

"I am still young, at 30, which I view as a positive because I’ve already been involved in player recruitment for ten years and have built up some very good contacts.

“Hopefully, if all goes well I see myself as being here for a long period of time.

“I’ve been at Southampton for two years, at Burnley for two years, at other clubs for similar times, but now I want to settle at a club where I can start to see the fruits of my labours with the players coming through.

“If we are signing outstanding players at 10, 11, 12, I want to see those players when they are coming through to the first team.

“And I love a bit of pressure, I thrive on it - I am looking forward to going out and battling with whoever it is to try and bring players to Wolves.

“The top clubs are going to have to work very hard to get a player because I will be there battling them.

“In my opinion this is a very good club going in one direction – which is up – because we have an excellent Academy and staff with facilities to rival anyone in the country when the dome is complete.”

 

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