David Moyes' scouting secrets - An insight to the Manchester United manager's selection processes

Last Updated: 05/11/13 11:17am

The Footballers' Football Show gave viewers an insight into David Moyes' scouting secrets on Monday night.

Joining David Jones in the studio this week was Leeds manager and former chief scout for Reading Brian McDermott, Norwich City chief scout Ewen Chester and Michael Calvin author of 'The Nowhere Men', a book shadowing the lonely life of a football scout.

The panel analysed the process of scouting young footballers and how it has changed in recent years with the introduction of the Bosman rule and the ever-increasing power agents hold on young players.

To listen to the full show download the podcast here.

Moyes's scouting secret

Journalist Michael Calvin travelled the world following scouts when researching for his book, but it was the detailed and strategic system that now Manchester United manager David Moyes had at former club Everton which really caught his eye.

He explained: "David Moyes has what he calls his 'MOT checklist' which is up to about 12 criteria for each position in an optimum situation.

"He would want about 50 reports on a player written between about 10 and 12 scouts to give him a broader view. I think of all the clubs that I've worked alongside the set-up at Everton was by far the best in terms of the rigour of the process.

"My guide was the owner of the recruitment room, James Smith, who's the Head of Technical Scouting at Everton. It's an unprepossessing office but it's full of white boards and follows a very logical process.

"I think of all the clubs that I've worked alongside the set-up at Everton was by far the best in terms of the rigour of the process."

Michael Calvin

"He has around about 5,000 reports on about a 1,000 players. The first white board has the top 200 of that group on it and they are annotated in position order. The day I was there you looked at it and there weren't many right-backs around so you see 'ok, there's a gap in the market that we need to have a look at.'


During his 11 years in charge at Goodison Park Moyes signed a number of players from lower English teams such as Joleon Lescott from Wolves, Phil Jagielka from Sheffield United and Leyton Baines from Wigan, all of whom have gone on to become regular England internationals.

Michael Calvin says the scouting process to finding this kind of talent was down to the fine detail under Moyes.

"As the process goes around the room it gets much more concentrated until it comes down to essentially a transfer list," he added.

"I was very impressed with David Moyes because he is depicted as a typical British manager, almost a little autocratic but there was a collegiate side to him with this; he had six people and he asked them to come up with their best players in the Premier League aged under 26 who are outside the top six - in other words, the sort of demographic that Everton would be looking at.

"There were four players on that list who were recognised by all these people so they became real positive targets.

"The real fascinating area for me was on the right hand side of the room; David Moyes had mapped out his idea of his current best first XI with their contract details, ages and appearance records.

"He then depicted what he felt would be his best team over the following three seasons so that was essentially a David Moyes mind-map, because as the years went on gaps begin to appear and so you could see where strategically he needed a left sided centre back or so on."