As a professional scout for Manchester United under 12-23s, Danielle Prescott is an expert in analysing players’ performance and discovering talent. With over 12 years’ experience working in elite sport, the programme leader for GIS’ MSc Football Coaching & Analysis degree has mastered what it takes to spot potential from an early age. Here, Danielle gives us an exclusive insight into her role at the Premier League giants…

What does your role as a professional football scout at Manchester United involve and what have been some of the highlights?

My role at the club includes attending games from under 12-23, which usually means going to approximately four games per week. After watching the game, I submit reports on players of interest or who could be of interest in the near future. Highlights for me are watching players who have stood out to me at a young age playing up through the ranks within the respective clubs.

Danielle Prescott at UCFB's Etihad Campus

Are there any big names from Manchester United you've helped scout or develop?

As an academy scout, part of the process and perhaps frustration is that the fruits of our labour are not known for a number of years. I have been a contributor to some signings in the current academy but who are still in their infancy in terms of professional football development.

What do you look for in a young player that shows potential for a future playing career?

As a scout, it is always good practice to look for traits and qualities within players that are untrainable and essentially are instilled within their character. Seeing how a player interacts as part of his game is an important part of assessing what they would be like to work with and how this would integrate within teams.

How is technology affecting the world of scouting and performance analysis? How do you think it will affect it in the future?

Technology is giving clubs more insight into players and teams through the use of data analysis for example, but this only means there is more data available to make informed decisions.  As a ‘scout on the ground’ if you will, there is no data element that feeds into my personal role.

How does the MSc Football Coaching & Analysis programme help prepare you for a coaching career? 

The programme has a nice blend from both a coaching and analysis perspective, and the student can shape elements of the programme to align with their career choices.  The teaching and learning strategy has been designed to replicate what would be expected in the real world in order to prepare students upon graduation and ensure that they are successful outside of academia.

What do you think it takes to be a successful scout?

To be a successful scout, in terms of the need for knowledge, there are also specific requirements as a person that would be favourable. Being determined, committed and hardworking is half of the battle. When coupled with knowledge and expertise, these make really key ingredients to be successful within the scouting sector.