Stevenage boss Sarll on the importance of analysis and his fascinating Roy Keane story

PUBLISHED: 17:46 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:51 11 January 2018

Stevenage FC manager Darren Sarll. Picture: Danny Loo

Stevenage FC manager Darren Sarll. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Stevenage boss Darren Sarll gave CometSport an insight into analysis in football.

Stevenage manager Darren Sarll (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo) Stevenage manager Darren Sarll (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

The 34-year-old believes that watching and analysing opponents is ‘worth its weight in gold’ but only if it is done right.

“I love analysis and we are big on it here,” said Sarll.

“If I can watch someone live it’s the best thing I can do because I see things that aren’t on camera.

“You can get a general feel for the player, the individual and how they react so that is worth its weight in gold.

Stevenage FC manager Darren Sarll. Picture: Danny Loo Stevenage FC manager Darren Sarll. Picture: Danny Loo

“If I can’t get to a live game I always watch three games via some sort of analysis software.

“We strip down every game, work out common denominators, threats, and we try and break that down in order to give little bits to the players.

“If you are constantly giving players bits of information over the course of the season it can become draining. It’s like an academic year. You have your longest holiday at the end for a reason, because mentally you are at your most fatigued.

“It’s the same with a football season. You are trying to give them enough information to win every game but it just too much, so it’s about finding the common denominators with every team and showcasing them to the players.

“Once you’ve done it theoretically, the most important thing is to do it practically.

“I’ve never given a bad analysis meeting in my life but that’s because I can stop, rewind, show it again. Unfortunately, on Saturday it’s live and you can show anything again.

“It’s a fascinating process, our analysis, and Rob Smith does a terrific job but you have to be very cute in how much you are giving the players.”

Sarll went on to share a fascinating story from his early years of coaching that involved none other than Manchester United legend Roy Keane

The Stevenage manager told CometSport: “I had a wonderful experience when I was 21.

“I was a young UEFA A license candidate and we had a task set to analyse England against Argentina in groups.

“In my group of four there was a young lad I played with who’s a very good friend, Anthony Hudson, who’s just been appointed head coach of MLS side Colorado Rapids, myself and Roy Keane.

“My job was to analyse Argentina, you had 24 hours and then you had to present it the next day.

“So we are sat in this big old auditorium, big projector screen beamed on and I’m watching Argentina.

“I stop, write, making notes, start. All of a sudden Roy Keane takes the remote, chucks it across the other side of the room and he said ‘just watch the game, get your opinion, then write it down’.”

When asked what his response to Keane was, with a laugh, Sarll responded: “Yes Roy.”

The experience has stayed with the 34-year-old who described it as one of the ‘best bits of advice’ he’s ever been given as a coach

“I go to 100 games a season, see all these analysts and scouts, and they are making notes the whole game. They must miss 50% of the game.

“Whenever I go with scouts, they are always turning up with these leather bound notebooks. They just get thrown half way across the stand like that remote.

“In my head, I’m being kind in the same way that Roy thought he was being kind to me. I’m sure they are thinking, cost me a few quid that.

“It is so true though, watch the game and get your own opinion. It’s still one of the best bits of advice I’ve ever been given.”

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