Wilson’s Wisdom: Paul Cook enjoys his Sunday morning scouting hobby

Robbie Blake at Newport yesterday Picture: Joe Pepler
Robbie Blake at Newport yesterday Picture: Joe Pepler
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Calling all Sunday League footballers: Think twice before you have that extra pint the night before a game in future.

While they will probably do their best to keep a low profile, Paul Cook and his backroom team may just drop by King George V playing fields to cast an eye over local players when you least expect it.

The story goes that Cook first spotted Gary Roberts playing in a Sunday League side named Allerton in Liverpool.

And while he is addressing his scouting network, he will happily wander around the city and may very well take in a game on a Sunday morning.

Impress Cook and you just never know where it could lead.

It’s always struck me that a certain amount of luck is required to make it into professional football.

You can have all the ability in the world, and if you should happen to have an off day on that occasion when a scout makes the trip, the chance evaporates.

Just suppose you happen to get asked to do a job for the team out of position that day?

Perhaps you’re carrying a knock?

A talented winger playing up against a very good full-back may not get a kick on that day, especially if his team-mate won’t give him the ball.

The same guy against a lesser opponent can look the real deal.

The counter-argument, of course, is that those with real class will always find a way to get their talents noticed, even if they suffer the odd setback.

But just suppose you are a player who has ability, but is missing that bit of self-belief?

That player gets told he won’t make it, listens to that opinion and goes off to do something else – lost to the professional game.

Different managers will also have very different views on what makes a footballer.

Some go for the technical, skilful types, even if they might be lacking in physical prowess.

Others want power, athleticism, desire, commitment and will believe they can work on a first touch or the footballing side of it.

You can argue that both parts of the game can be worked upon with the right attention and training.

Flaws in a game can always be improved.

But which of those flaws are genuine deal-breakers?

It’s hard to prevent genuinely good footballers with masses of potential falling through the net.

No matter how many millions of pounds you throw at a scouting network, it will always happen.

Players who should go on to make it, never get that chance.

Cook is in the process of addressing his scouting set-up.

According to the Blues boss, former Bradford and Burnley man Robbie Blake has been ‘doing a bit of work with the scouting’.

We await developments on whether that will become a permanent appointment.

But Cook knows the importance of a thorough recruitment department.

He needs eyes at games of all standards – including his own – and you get the impression, he gets extra satisfaction from finding those rough gems he can polish to become professional footballers.