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Former Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has revealed how his job as a Liverpool scout caused the Reds to turn down the opportunity to sign Theo Hernandez.
Woodgate took on the scouting role in August 2016 after retiring as a player. The movement saw him work closely with Michael Edwards, who went from manager to sporting director at Anfield three months later.
Talking about Jamie Carragher The best game Podcast, Woodgate talked about how he came to forge a strong relationship with Edwards that would lead him to work.
“Michael Edwards was on the Spurs [as head of performance analysis] and every day he was there watching the players with him, Philippe Coutinho, actually, when he was at Inter Milan ”. the 40 year old said.
“I’d be there every day constantly spinning [Edwards’] office upside down and meet him. He was a nice guy.
“He called me one day and said ‘what are you doing?’ I said ‘nothing, I just retired’. He said ‘would you like to get on board and do a little exploring to Liverpool in Spain and Portugal? ‘.
“I said ‘too good!’ I was all about it. I was watching all the games, second Spanish, first Spanish.
“I would go every two weeks and play four games and then come back and watch the game on TV and on your laptop.
Woodgate’s work saw him help in the early stages of Jurgen KloppLiverpool’s mandate.
In fact, he revealed on the podcast that he sought out Ruben Dias for Benfica’s Under-19 team in a match against Sunderland Under-19; Dias recently became Manchester City’s £ 65m solution to their defensive woes.
He also studied Atlético de Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente. The Spaniard scored twice at Anfield last season to eliminate Liverpool from the Champions League.
Theo Hernandez drew attention
But it was another athletic young man, Hernandez, who caught Woodgate’s attention. The French took place in the Spanish capital before staying there with an exciting move to Real Madrid in the summer of 2017.
Woodgate revealed, however, how Liverpool turned down the opportunity to sign him prior to that transfer.
“You do your homework before and sometimes they give you players to watch and you have to do an in-depth analysis and then submit it,” he said.
“How is your body position at the front post when the ball enters the area? Are you tight with your man? Does he stay free and attack the ball?
“Little things like that and I put them on my computer, not just on the ball, also off the ball or whatever you’re looking at.
“I recommended him to a player who signed for Real Madrid. I absolutely adored it but [Liverpool] decided they didn’t want it. He has done well, now he is at AC Milan. Theo Hernandez: Bombs lit for fun, and he’s a machine. “
Hernández made 13 appearances in his first season at Real, before joining Real Sociedad on loan for the 2018/19 season.
Last summer, he moved to Italy and has contributed eight goals and eight assists in 51 games.
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