Liverpool’s new scout

As if they didn’t already have enough of a stranglehold on the Finnish replica shirt market, those loveable scamps from Merseyside have been in the news this week. The first story was that Simon Skrabb, a 12 year old from Pietersaari, had been to Melwood on trial. Simon had a whale of a time, apparently:

“Everything was so much better than here at home – and bigger. There were ten perfect full size pitches in a row. When I went to the changing rooms all our kit was on the bench, all I had to take with me were my pants, shinpads and boots.”

Which is nice.

HBL then announced that Tor Sparv, father of Halmstad midfielder Tim, had quit as coach of Kakkonen team Norvalla FF to take up a post as Liverpool’s Finland scout.

So the scousers now have a man in Finland, and I can’t help feeling it’s a bit much. Alright, Liverpool are going to be great for the youngsters, and they are doing this ‘on the offchance’ that Skrabb turns into the kind of player they’d be interested in by playing well for the national team’s younger age groups. By that stage they’d have a pre-existing good relationship with ‘the lad and his Dad’ (the cornerstones of British junior football recruitment) and thus have stolen a march on their contemporaries.

More of a problem might be lesser clubs taking lesser players abroad at ever earlier stages in their development. Lauri Dalla Valle has been resistant to moves abroad so far, and Teemu Pukki got at least a season in Veikkausliiga before moving abroad, but it seems the trend is for players to go abroad, come back, then go abroad again. In twenty years time it might be possible to draw conclusions about it.

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