Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sbragia Given Scouting Role

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sbragia Given Scouting Role

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas

FORMER Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia has been handed the brief of 'director of scouting' as part of Steve Bruce's shake-up of coaching staff.

Sbragia stepped down after edging the Black Cats towards survival last season but his tireless efforts impressed chairman Niall Quinn, who assured the former Manchester United coach that there is a "job for life" for him at Sunderland.

That role will not be as part of the coaching team, which Sbragia would have preferred, but he will oversee a revamped scouting operation alongside current chief scout Mick Brown.

Bruce is expected to utilise his contacts in Europe and South and Central America as he looks to inject fresh blood into Sunderland's squad - and he will also insist on a more rigorous vetting procedure than that accepted by former boss Roy Keane.

Sunderland's approach to player identification and recruitment has long been earmarked for an overhaul by Quinn, who feels that the Black Cats need to extend their reach globally to compete at the top end of the Premier League.

He has sought the advice of former Sunderland chief scout Dave Bowman, whose extensive contacts helped the Black Cats recruit Nyron Nosworthy, Dean Whitehead and Danny Collins during Mick McCarthy's time at the helm and feels that Sbragia can provide a crucial link between manager and scouts.

It is also a reward for a man who Quinn feels indebted to for reluctantly holding the fort while Sunderland worked towards appointing Bruce.

"Ricky has gone away for a few weeks and he definitely needed a holiday. He has scheduled a call with Steve for his assessment and Steve is looking forward to that," the Sunderland chairman said.

"Ricky has agreed to head up a new, wider scouting network that Steve brings to this club. I'm not going to be interfering but I will make sure that the recruitment and the structures are as good as they can be.

"There will be reporting structures and every Friday we will know what is happening.

We will put a library together of all of our thoughts so we can call on that at any stage. We have to be smart on that. …

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