Jamie Vardy,N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez were the bedrocks on which Leicester laid their title winning credentials last season. Coming in from Fleetwood Town,Stade Malherbe Caen and Le Havre respectively, all these players were quite unknown to the footballing world before their metamorphic rise last season, with only Vardy being known to the English fans and Premier League followers. The three of them were scouted and recommended by the same person-Steve Walsh. Walsh was particularly praised for bringing in these talents to make Leicester the champions.
Walsh was born in Chorley, Lancashire and worked as a physical education teacher at Bishop Rawtorne School in Lancashire. He worked as a scout in tandem to his teaching duties at Bury, Chester City and later Chelsea. It was at Chelsea where he unearthed two gems of players- Gianfranco Zola and Didier Drogba, highlighting his knowledge of the French Ligue very well. Both of them turned out to be nothing short of cult heroes at the club. He also played a key role in the signing of Michael Essien. He later became the Chief scout at Newcastle United in 2006 leaving Chelsea. This was a particularly important twist of events, especially in a Leicester point of view as he met Nigel Pearson there at the club. He became an integral part of the backroom staff under Pearson and followed him to Hull and then back to Leicester in 2011. Thankfully for Leicester, the management retained Walsh and the other backroom staff after Pearson’s firing.
Walsh was persistent in asking Ranieri to sign N’Golo Kante when the new manager arrived at the club and was met with expected skepticism at first. As the season wore on though, it was seen as an absolute robbery with Kante putting in top quality performances.(Mahrez was signed the previous season and Vardy two seasons prior to that, all recommended by Walsh) He was even handed the Assistant Manager role alongside his scouting duties at Leicester. Subsequently, he was snapped up by Everton earlier this season, after Iranian Farhad Moshiri bought 49.9% stake of Everton FC, Walsh was signed by the club and is now their new Director of Football.
Walsh must be credited with overseeing the total over haul of the Leicester squad to turn them into the title winners they are now with Wes Morgan, Robert Huth, Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater, Marc Albrighton and Leonardo Ulloa all being signed by the club in the last few years. Walsh is also known to be a deep researcher before he makes signings as he is known to look into the characters of the players he recommends. He has built an extensive scouting unit at Leicester over the years. Walsh is also known to plan well in advance about signing potential new players with an example being Ahmed Musa who was courted by Leicester from January this year and signed in this transfer window by them.
Walsh deserves credit for the work he has done at Leicester and should be considered as much a loss as Kante this season for them.
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