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Adam Henshall on Recruitment

20 September 2016

Adam talks about developing the clubs ethos

Shrewsbury Town’s Recruitment Administrator Adam Henshall has given an insight into the clubs recruitment policy.
Adam, who came into his post in February, has been charged with improving the way the club recruit young talent.
The former Loughborough University student, has signposted football intelligence as a key factor in player recruitment and believes that it is important the club has the same ethos from the under 8’s right through to the first team.
“We are trying to set a theme,” Adam told ShrewsWeb.
“So, basically what we do from top to bottom is set up a matrix, where we look at and evaluate all the players that are in the squads for every single age group.
“Within that age group we will assess who has potential, who has high potential, who may not be there and who will probably be released or not be good enough for the Shrewsbury Town standard.
“We identify those areas that need strengthening and then we set up our scouting and our recruitment process to go and identify those players in those target areas.
“Something that we are looking for is football intelligence. All of the players we have can pass a ball, they can all play long passes, that’s what has been drilled into them from a young age.
“It’s about finding those players that are adaptable to game situations. For example, if you are 1-0 down with 5 minutes left on the clock, what have you got to do differently? If you are 2-1 up with 5 minutes left to go, what have you got to do different to adapt your game?
“That’s something that we are looking for massively in players because that sort of footballing intelligence is something that you can teach, but it’s definitely something that goes a long way to assessing a players want to learn and want to become a professional footballer,” added Adam.

Town have sent four of their developing players out on loan this season and Henshall believes that spells away from the club will be the best way to move them forward in their development.
“We constantly evaluate our squad, looking at what we have in house,” admitted Adam.
“If we feel as though we can’t provide the opportunity that’s required for the player to develop and grow, we will then actively look to get the player out on loan.
“That doesn’t mean we just send them to any old club, we research the club that we are sending them too as well. For Ethan Jones to get a loan to Tranmere I think is a fantastic move, massive club, a great opportunity for him to get the game time that he requires, which he wasn’t getting here.
“The last thing we would want to do is stunt a player’s growth by keeping them in house as a backup option. What is most important for us, and looking at previous plyers such as Connor Goldson, is getting them out to get the game time.”

Connor Goldson has gone onto become a consistent Championship performer and Adam thinks that players should look at the path he took to get to where he is today.
“I remember watching Connor here when I used to come to the games and watching him develop from being a young boy to a professional,” said Adam.
“Without him having that initial loan at Cheltenham I don’t think he’d be the player he is today, I think he’d be the first player to admit that.
“I think it’s all about the game time and the minutes that the players get, in order to develop that football intelligence which we crave.  We aim to get all these players out into competitive football in order to be assessed and then reassessed.
“Dom Smith’s back in training with us again today, so we can constantly assess where Dom’s at. Ethan’s the same, whenever he has a day off at Tranmere, he will be in here so that we can reassess him as well.
“If we didn’t think the player was good enough for the level for Shrewsbury Town, then they wouldn’t be here in the first place. We sign these players on deals to become the next Shrewsbury Town player and it’s all just about making sure we don’t stunt their growth or stunt their football intelligence, which we are hoping to develop and that only comes with getting games.”

Town signed 14 players in the summer and Henshall gave an insight into the recruitment process.
“We did a lot of research into the players, we came up with a list of targets and we worked our way through all of the ones that were available and we feel as though we got the best one’s available to us as a football club,” Henshall said.
“Micky states a need, whatever that need may be. We then go away and research all of the options in our budget and in our constraints. We then correlate a list of targets of about 5 to 10 players, of which we will have all done thorough research.
“So, we watch footage, gain information about their background, about them as a person, as a players. And we’ve spoken to previous managers and previous players that we know of, and we then provide those options to the manager and we select which one’s are best for the football club.”

Adam admitted that it can be difficult at times to compete with the bigger clubs in the division, but feels as though the players Town have recruited are of a good League One standard.
“Obviously there’s some massive teams in League One now,” continued Henshall.
“We are dealing with big clubs such as Milton Keynes Dons and Charlton that are coming down from the Championship, so to be able to financially compete with certain players and certain targets that we actually had on our board, with comparison to those sorts of teams they blow us out of the water.
“We try to do our best with what’s available to us and what’s interested in coming to us, and I think we’ve recruited a type of player that hopefully the fans and everyone can see is a League One ready player, competing at a League One footballing standard now.
“It’s those thin, fine margins now that are letting us down and hopefully as a team we can start to gel at a quicker rate, which I think is happening at a quick rate, and we can look to get those positive results.”

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