The battle between what your eye tells you about a player and what his outcomes are is over a decade old. Does the player have heart and mental strength, or does he manage to achieve impressive outcomes without it?
Given the choice, I would probably opt for a player who can impress without the heart/strength combo. You can do a lot of work on those things, but you cannot move the dial much when it comes to innate talent. If he is achieving because he is maxed out on heart, adjust your expectations south. How do you judge if a player can translate form in one environment to another, such as Celtic Park? The stats tell you no more than your eye will on that one,
In 1990, Aston Villa chairman and manager, Doug Ellis and Graham Taylor sat preseason watching Villa play a Trinidadian side in a friendly. They didn’t know the players name, but they knew they were not leaving the Caribbean the standout striker. Doubtlessly, both the eye and the stats were in Dwight Yorke’s favour.
Brendan Rodgers entered this debate yesterday:
“There are things that you can never find out through analysis other than by being at a stadium, watching the player and seeing what their movement is like, seeing how he deals the with atmosphere.
“I always say, the analytical side doesn’t tell you if someone has a heart and personality. When you play for a club like this one, you need to have a heart and the mental strength.
“You have to find out those things and see them live. Obviously, statistics will give you a lot, but I’m not driven by it. It’s something which is a really good support for us.”
Who am I to tell our manager different, but I respectfully disagree. Data driven recruitment is how elite teams operate. If a player gets results because he has buckets of personality, because he has the Judgement of Solomon or because he has mastered the ancient practice of Voodoo, outcomes are all that matter.
Ruthlessly dedicate to outcomes or accept all this data modelling is just not for you. Some souls in Haiti practice both Voodoo and Christianity. Two gods to keep happy! But don’t let me worry you, maybe it’ll work out fine for us. Anyway, Hail Mary………