CLARETS boss Eddie Howe has shot down any claims of a scouting mission during Euro 2012 but admitted he’ll be seeking inspiration from the continent’s best coaches.
The 14th UEFA European Championship, hosted by Poland and Ukraine, gets underway tonight as Franciszek Smuda’s Biało-czerwoni take on 2004 champions Greece in the opening game of the tournament at the National Stadium in Warsaw.
But while some clubs plan to station their scouting networks across the two countries with a view to bolster their squads for the new season, Howe will be taking notes on the styles and formations employed by the likes of Vicente del Bosque, Bert van Marwijk, Joachim Low, Paulo Bento and Laurent Blanc, among others.
“I’m sure I’ll be watching a number of games,” said Howe. “I’ll be keeping an eye on it but obviously Burnley Football Club is my main focus with recruitment and ensuring that I get the right personnel in. Myself and the scouts are working extremely hard towards next season.
“I don’t think we’ll be using the tournament as a means of recruitment. We will have an eye on it and we will watch games but the amount of players that will fall in to our financial bracket, both with value and wages, will be very sparse. As it is we don’t have the resources to expand our scouting system in to tournaments like this though it may be something we will look at in the future.”
Howe experimented with varying setups last term with the 4-2-3-1 line-up prevalent, but he’s keen to learn from football’s evolution and modern tactical trends. “From a tactical perspective I will definitely have one eye on the tournament,” he said. “As a manager I think you have to watch the best teams and the best coaches in Europe or the world to analysis different footballing styles and the contrasting variations of formations. You can learn a lot from watching the best. I like to keep abreast of modern trends to see if I can integrate that in to the team. It can definitely be very inspiring.”
As far as the tournament itself is concerned Howe expects England to replicate the form of Champions League winners Chelsea in becoming a resolute, hard-to-beat unit. But the Burnley boss has tipped either holders Spain or Holland for glory.
“Lower expectations might well help the team because there’s not as much pressure but serious injury problems to key players certainly hasn’t helped England’s cause,” said Howe. “But they will be well organised and harder to beat and Roy Hodgson has done a great job in that respect in such a short period of time. If they can get through the group stages then anything can happen. I really hope they progress and do well.”
Howe added: “But I don’t think you can look beyond the reigning champions, Spain. Their record speaks for itself and they’ve got a good system, world class players and a winning mentality. But Holland were also excellent against Northern Ireland recently so I think it will be one of those two.”