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Mowbray happy with the balance in his side - at last
TONY MOWBRAY is enjoying watching his Middlesbrough side and feels that he has finally put his own stamp on the team, paying tribute to the scouts that helped identify suitable players.
Mowbray lauded his scores of scouts that work from the club’s Rockliffe Park HQ ‘tirelessly and endlessly’ to find the right type of player to suit the manager’s preferred passing game.
Since his appointment in November 2010, Mowbray has had to work with little money, while lumbered with high-earning players from the club’s Premier League years. However, the departure of Scott McDonald in particular gave the manager some much-needed wriggle room, which allowed the club to spend money in the transfer window on Jacob Butterfield and Kei Kamara.
In Butterfield and Kamara, alongside summer signings Dean Whitehead and Albert Adomah, Mowbray feels he has both options and balance in midfield, with a team that now contains more of his own players than ones he inherited from previous regimes.
“We're getting there, yes, I think so,” said Mowbray.
“I'd have to say the performance level of the team has been high. I've enjoyed watching the team, for the first time in a long time. It's taking shape. But we have to get results along the way, of course. The team has to take three points and maintain a challenge.
“Like any football team, you have to build a side. You either do it with free transfers and not spending much money, or you do a QPR and bring in £3m, £4m, £5m footballers.
“Football has always been about hard work and quality in equal measures. The players that we have identified and brought in, some of them free transfers, some money spent, Adomah, Jutkiewicz, Butterfield, but we haven't spent much.
“Some is home-grown, but we'll see how we go. We'll be judged on how we go. I quite like the team right now, it's got balance. We now need to turn the positive play into points.”
With money still tight on Teesside - Middlesbrough’s parachute payments from the Premier League dried up a year ago - Mowbray and his scouting network have had to dig deeper and go further in order to unearth hidden gems.
Despite a spell in the Premier League with Norwich City last season, the signing of Kamara from MLS side Kansas City showed the breadth of Boro’s scope when it comes to recruitment.
“Our scouting department works tirelessly, endlessly, on the types of player we need,” explained Mowbray. I needed someone who can play down the middle and also wide. Kei was watched, scouted, had match reports on, enquired about his availability and here he is.
“I spoke to Chris Hughton about his personality, he spoke glowingly of him. Let's see how he goes. My first impressions of him are that he is the right character for the club, hopefully he can do the business on the pitch.
“Football is a global game now. There are tools out there such as Scout7 where you can watch any game in any part of the world, so we, as a lot of clubs do, have technical scouts who won't be on aeroplanes going to games, they'll be watching game after game, day after day, week after week, in rooms on screens, identifying players, and from there the process would be sending people to watch the players live, if the live report is good then we send a senior member of staff to watch them, or me if I get chance, then we sign.
“There's lots of hurdles to clear before we sign footballers. Are we looking in areas that other clubs aren't? We're looking everywhere. In every country in Europe, we're studying two or three countries closer than others. We can't cover every league but two or three extensively.”
One path Mowbray is reluctant to go down just yet is the loan market. After bringing in Ishmael Miller, Josh McEachran and Sammy Ameobi on temporary contracts last season, Mowbray would much rather climb the table with players that belong to the club.
He said: “Your own players, the players that come into work every day, they live in the area, live around the area. Sometimes if it's not going well for loan players they have somewhere to go, they can go home, back to their parent clubs, I'd prefer to have our own players.
“Yet if loan players come around, do a job, then great. To have your own players and be successful, having invested time and energy, has got to be good for the club.”
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