WHEN Kieran Scott worked at Norwich City and returned from scouting trips to show Daniel Farke the players he'd identified as potential signings, he knew more often than not what the response from the Canaries manager would be.

It would be positive. The players Scott had picked out ticked the boxes for Farke. Why? Because over time Scott had learnt exactly what Farke looked for and liked in a player. Everyone at Norwich was singing from the same hymn sheet when it came to transfers.

Encouragingly for Middlesbrough, Scott now feels the same way about his understanding with Michael Carrick and his coaching staff as he did about Farke at Carrow Road.

As Boro approach the January transfer window, there's "buy-in" from everyone at the club involved in recruitment, with targets identified and agreed on.

That hasn't always been the case. It's no secret that former managers Neil Warnock and Chris Wilder had different ideas to Boro's recruitment team on transfers and targets as the club set about changing their strategy. But realistically how can there be sustainable success and how can a model be implemented if the manager and those tasked with identifying signings fundamentally disagree on the type of player they want?

"You have to be on the same page for it to work," says Boro's head of football Scott.

"When you're not it's really obvious and easy to see and it becomes really difficult in mine and the manager's position. You can see when it's not quite right."

And Scott can feel when it is right - as is the case at Boro now. Over the course of the last 13 months Scott and his scouting team - led by Chris Jones - have learnt what Carrick and his coaching team look for and like in a player.

"What I've noticed now going into January, we've put players forward, via Chris and the scouts who have worked really hard to identify some really good players for us, they can see what it takes to play for us, the longer Michael is here they can see the style and what he wants," Scott told BBC Tees this week.

"That develops over time, it's subtle little things, the more meetings you have, the more you go out for dinner, you start picking up on things. So you could realise Woody (Jonathan Woodgate) likes this or that in a defender.

"Rav van den Berg is a great example, it was a great bit of work from Chris in identifying him. We did a really good deal for the club there. Woody straight away identified the bits we thought he'd like and it was the easiest, quickest process. There was complete buy-in straight away.

"That's happening now in a lot of positions. It's a click almost, because we're seeing that player suits what we're trying to do.

"The more and longer we do it, the easier it's getting. I was quoted at Norwich saying the same thing about Daniel Farke, the longer I worked with him, I could see a Daniel Farke player and it's getting like that here now. Chris and the guys are seeing that and the more we get into it, the better it will be."


With every window there's a growing understanding of what a Boro player looks like.

For all Boro hope Carrick remains head coach for a long time to come, when he does eventually move on, continuity will be key in identifying potential replacements: someone who fits Boro and the vision and style rather than bringing in a manager with completely different beliefs and preferences and then having to rip up the recruitment strategy and start again.

That's hopefully a long way off. With Carrick at the helm, Boro are purring on the pitch and there's calm, stability and joined up thinking off it.

"It's a collective," says Scott, as he explains how Boro identify and agree on targets and signings.

"There isn't one person. We're all in a room and we meet regularly and we go through the plans and the players and we talk about individuals and what the deals will look like.

"There's a buy in from everyone, Steve (Gibson) wouldn't have it any other way. We're all together, win lose or draw, there's no finger pointing. It's a collective."

Something else has helped Boro in the transfer market over the course of the last 12 months - the reputation of Carrick and his coaching team.

"There's been a huge, huge upturn in returned phone calls, should we say, since Michael and the guys came in," says Scott.

"Aaron (Danks) has worked at England and knows all the players and the players know him and Jonathan (Woodgate) as well who has a real pull for younger players who he wants to develop.

"It's been a hell of a lot easier bringing players in and speaking to clubs with those guys here."

Listen to Kieran Scott's hour-long BBC Tees interview with Mark Drury in full HERE.