Talent scout is VSI’s latest recruit

Steve NicksonTwelve years experience in football recruitment has taught Steve Nickson how to spot talent. But raw ability alone is no guarantee of success and Nickson has also learned that the right attitude and a desire to work hard can be just as important.

Hard work is a quality he values in the young players he recruits, the colleagues he works with and in his own career. Now head of recruitment at Newcastle United, Nickson will join VSI’s MSc in Sporting Directorship course in September as part of the 2018 cohort.

Speaking at the end of a week that has taken him on a whistle-stop tour of Europe in search of footballing prospects, Nickson explained the intricacies of football scouting.

“A lot of people might think its about what you can see with the naked eye but there is a lot more to it,” he said.

“There are important things like attitude and there’s a lot of background work that goes into it. You need to find out what kind of people they are, not just what kind of players they are.”

Nickson’s footballing life has seen him go from schoolboy player and coach at Blackburn Rovers to the man trusted with finding Newcastle’s stars of the future.

Reflecting on his career so far he said: “When I was at Blackburn there were players like Phil Jones who we found playing for his local club, which was nice. There are a few stories like that.

“Equally there’s the players who are slowly working away on the back burner who you don’t think will make it but who get there because of their attitude and hard work.

“The biggest career highlight for me has been working with good people. I work under Rafa Benitez at the moment and he is so knowledgable, his work ethic is incredible and his humility is inspiring.

“People like them are the highlight for me, they help you develop and get better in your own career.”

Now a year into his current role, Nickson has set his sights on improving as much as he can. He quickly identified the MSc in Sporting Directorship as the next step in his career development.

“It has been 21 years since I passed my degree. I’m looking forward to meeting like-minded people in football and outside of football, which I think is really important. You need to look outside of the bubble to have a chance of coming across new ideas.

“For me I think there’s a lot of different elements of the course that will help me develop my role and my career.

“In terms of being a leader and a manager I want to push myself to perform as well as possible.”

To learn more about the VSI MSc in Sporting Directorship contact:



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