Francesco Lamazza: An interview with a former Juventus scout

17 December at 19:05
Scouts are the most underrated bunch of people in football. They discover players who go on to become superstars and always stay in the background, never seeking attention. 

They are like journeymen who go around countries, with few people noticing their influence and presence. We caught up with a former Juventus scout Francesco Lamazza.

Q. What made you consider a switch from being a scout to a sporting director?
 

After spending many years around local football grounds, scouting youth and professional games, thanks to Juventus school, I developed the experience that allowed me to become a Sport Director. To become a Sport Director was my goal since the beginning.

 

Q. How are the two levels different from each other?

 

Sport Director is at the highest level of the scout, the Sport Director needs to have all the qualities of the scout and also needs to be a leader and a manager.

Scouts need to have the knowledge and the insight for analyze players at mental, physical, tactical and technical level. When you are Sporting Director your job is to build a team taking in consideration aspects like the budget, the way to valorize every human resources you have in the team (from players, to coach, to scouting department to staff). .

 

 

 Q. Which role suits you more? That of a scout or a sporting director?
 

I manage the grouo of the athletes I have and I support the tecnical staff. I use to chose the best coach available for that kind of project, looking at how much time he can have for express his football ideas.

I learned a lot from my mentor Carlo Regalia (former Sport Director now president of Sport Director assosiation). I have for many years tried to sign with Sarri, when he was in Italian lowest divisions, and sometimes I was very close.

At technical side I am a "Zemaniano", I follow the philosophy of Zdenek Zeman, one of the most famous coaches in Italy in the last 30 years. So I like to have a coach that has that kind of mentality, from the pre season tranings, where players can gain a superb fitness, working a lot on the athletical side, to the tactical side, where the team is structured to attack the opponents in their midfield with a total pressing and when they have the ball and they go over the midfield line they have 7 seconds to find the way to shoot.

This is a very fast way of play games with teams that score a lot of goals. This is a way to valorize all the players, in fact if you see, everywhere Zeman coached the clubs had an improve of the value of every player. You can check about the history of Insigne, Immobile and Verratti, they where just young talented players before Zeman, but with him they became what they are now, and just in one season.

That kind of play is also good for good and top defenders, with them that have to be fast and able in the back run, one of the examples is Marquinhos, Roma bought him for 5 millions and after only one year with Zeman, at the age of 19 moved to PSG for 31 millions. This is how I see the tecnical side, about the Scouting Department it's important to create a big database of players and being able to build a sinergy with clubs of first level. 

 

 Q. Would you consider working abroad?

 

Sure, it would be an experience that will compleate my professional experience, where I will have the chance to compare my work to other styles, learn from them, something where I can get also life expereince, that is also very important.


Q. Which coaches would you take yourself, wherever you go?

I have many coaches in mind, always, obviously Zeman is one of the name I will immediately suggest, for the reasons I already said, he is the one who can bring people to the stadium to watch the show of his teams. There is also Giacomo Modica, that worked many years with Zeman and that is doing a great career now, I had him in Messina. Another emerging coach is Nicola Legrottaglie, that has a big international experience, maturate in the years he played with Juventus, Italian National Team and Milan. 


Q. What is the story of one player that you would like to share? A story that impressed you the most?

When I was in Pro Patria, Serie C1 2008-09, Do Prado was a player in the downfall of his career. He was rejected from many clubs after he failed with Fiorentina where in two seasons played 0 games. He was without team when after having followed him for many years and tried to move him in my clubs, finally in the autumn of 2008, it was October, I was able to sign him. His agent, my friend Massimo Caberlenghi, helped me in doing this. Do Prado needed two months to get a perfect fitness that would have allowed him to play at his 100%, we gave him that time. In January he started to play and from that moment his life changed. He was the best player of the team for the second half of the season, scoring 7 goals in 14 games, he was a tecnical leader, opponents had no chances against him. He was fondamental to get the second place of the table. After only one year where he leaded also Cesena to promotion in Serie A from Serie B he was sold to Southampton in England where he played more than 100 appearances.

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