As part of FCV Academy's 10th birthday celebrations, we're putting together some lists of 10 things important to you. The first sees Nick Haycock, a top scout for Premier League side Southampton, outline 10 key points for players trying to pave themselves a career in football.

1. Carry yourself well

  • First impressions are everything. You have one chance to make a good initial impression to the scouts
  • Your time-keeping is key. Use the phrase: '7.00pm for 7.15pm' – always give yourself plenty of time
  • Turn your phone and music off when appropriate – do not wait to be asked
  • What about how you dress? Do you look and carry yourself as if you want to make it?

 

2. Don’t force it

  • Play your normal game. You are being observed for the time on the ball, and the time off of it
  • Take up the right positions and, whether you get the ball or not, you will be noticed for doing the right thing
  • Do the simple things well

 

3. Play on both sides of the ball

  • Every player needs to make a contribution everywhere – you have to work for your team in both directions
  • Defending starts from the front, and attacks are built from the back

 

4. Be vocal

  • Pass on the right information to team-mates and encourage them – never criticise
  • One piece of valuable information to your team is worth more than 10 aimless ones – so be accurate

 

5. Study the theory of the game

  • Understand the principles of play and be aware of the tactics your team is trying to implement
  • Understand the key factors in a skill or technique, and its application
  • Be open-minded to advice when it is offered, by doing this you will become a better player

 

6. Play at your level

  • Play at the highest level you can, but in your position, and regularly
  • Scouts can’t watch you play if you are on the bench

 

7. Be a team player

  • Be positive with your team-mates or fellow trialists. It is a team game, and you need to show that you’re part of that
  • This can also be demonstrated in your approach to training. Train to your maximum every time you go out there
  • Ensure you listen to the coaches, take in their advice, and learn from what they are telling you

 

8. Aim for consistency

  • If you perform consistently, scouts will hear
  • Scouts talk to one another and pass on information to help individuals find their level. You are being observed all the time

 

9. Maximise your education

  • Aim high, but be realistic about how the football pyramid works. We can’t all reach the top, so be sure you get the very best education you can. It is not only a back-up – it will make you a better player, too

 

10. Look after yourself

  • Take notice of the physiotherapist, and do not play injured
  • Your recovery depends on your attitude to the advice you receive

 

Finally, keep going, and be realistic - you never know when you will get your chance!

BOOK: Put these tips into action and click here book into an FCV Showcase match