Junior-elite football: time to re-position talent identification?

Larkin, Paul and Reeves, Matthew orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-3903-2910 (2018) Junior-elite football: time to re-position talent identification? Soccer & Society, 19 (8). pp. 1183-1192. ISSN 1466-0970

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/14660970.2018.1432389


There remains limited understanding of the processes and factors which contribute to young footballers being identified as talented. Talent identification is imperative for the development of future elite performers, though most studies conflate talent identification and talent development. Moreover, within the literature there is a lack of operational or procedural distinction for talent identification, causing issues for those researching and working within applied contexts. This paper sought to clarify issues related to talent identification in junior-elite football, offering a review of the extant literature and proposing future directions for applied research. There are unanswered questions associated with how scouts, recruitment staff, and coaches decide what constitutes talent and the importance placed on particular attributes during that process. We suggest that further research into the ascribed processes, observations and perceptions of those involved in talent identification is needed to provide more sound understanding of the talent identification process in football.

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