|Job||xxxx Football Coach|
|Club as Coach||Leicester City [Head of recruitment]|
|Everton [ex-Head of recruitment]|
2015 12 11 Retrieve
[Leicester Head of recruitment Steve Walsh on Riyad Mahrez] The first time I saw him was July 27, 2012 when Le Havre played against Arles-Avignon. That was a French second division game. I had actually gone to watch Ryan Mendes, who has joined Nottingham Forest on loan from Lille. Riyad was a bit raw but he had a great touch, he could kill the ball dead and go past people. I liked his positiveness. He would take the ball to the fullback rather than lounging towards him. He would go with pace, commit the defender, and either cross the ball or have a go at getting past him.
Some of his decision-making wasn’t great and also defensively he wasn’t the best. But you could see he had real talent. We had him monitored from then on in
He didn’t really know where Leicester was, like a lot of foreign players, but when he came over he was blown away by the facilities
Each player at the club gets a individual fitness programme. Part of Riyad’s is to do weights. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t go in pumping iron but he is certainly stronger than he was when he came. The fitness people at the club, such as Matty Reeves (head of conditioning), do a great job
Riyad can last the full match and has to be aerobically fit to do both sides of the game: attacking and defence. But we never want to stifle that creativity
In this league, you need people who can go past opponents because it is the only way of creating space. He has quickness in feet and has got a trick but can also with his body movement send defenders the wrong way. That is some real art
2016 05 14 Retrieve
[Leicester City Head of Recruitment Steve Walsh] I keep telling the same joke over and over again about Kante: No matter who we’re playing, we play three in midfield. We play Danny Drinkwater in the middle as a holding player and we play Kante either side!
2019 09 07 Retrieve
[James Maddison may be generating talk of interest from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool, but Leicester legend Steve Walsh says the midfielder is happy where he is] James Maddison’s happy where he is, that’s number one. And I think he’s grateful that Leicester gave him a chance in the Premier League because he was playing for Norwich and, OK, doing very well, but it’s a big step up. We spent some good money on him and are now developing him into a top-class player. I think he understands the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and I’m sure he’s a loyal kind of guy, he seems it. He’s down to earth and a great lad. He’s got everything to make him one of the top players in the world if he continues with the progress he is making
The one thing with James Maddison, which I knew from the first day I met him, was that he oozes confidence. He’s a character, he’s got something about him. He’s really high in confidence and that’s what I like about him
This kid can play anywhere across the attacking midfield, it depends what system you are playing. Where he’s had most of his joy [at club level] is this free role, cutting in and playing balls down the channels for Vardy. He is an outstanding player and deserves to be selected for the England squad
2019 11 18 Retrieve
[Jose Mourinho and Manchester United were warned against a £75 million deal for big baby Romelu Lukaku by Everton’s former director of football Steve Walsh] He would be the first to admit that he probably needs to reinvent himself now a little bit. Obviously, it didn’t go right at United. Pep Guardiola was asked in an interview with a newspaper how he accounted for his success. He said 80 per cent of it was recruitment. I think Jose may have lost sight of that fact.
You have to work out what you want and need. Don’t try to attract players with no plan: ‘He’s available so we will take him’. Alexis Sanchez is a good example. During the title-winning season we only lost three times but two of those were against Arsenal. They pasted us at Leicester, 5-2. We played well and Jamie [Vardy] scored a remarkable goal, but Sanchez was outstanding that day. He was instrumental in both games. But it is not about collecting players, it is about having a clear plan and a strategy of how you want to play.
When Jose signed Romelu Lukaku from Everton, I remember saying to him, ‘You have to be careful with Lukaku. He is a big baby, you know.’ He said he could handle him. I don’t think he really got Lukaku on-side mentally, which you have to do. That is the case with him and Paul Pogba. They aren’t my type of players. They are more about themselves than the team. I wouldn’t have touched them. Because they are good players doesn’t mean you are going to get a good team out of it
United have made a lot of signings. Look at £50 million for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Now, perhaps it is too early and he will improve, but my eyes tell me when he gets the ball he is not the best. He is a good athlete and very quick, strong, and a good defender, but United don’t need a good defender, they need someone who can play, get on the ball. If I had been at United, I would have said, ‘Put your £50 million away, go and get Kieran Trippier for half that. He is an England international. He isn’t a great defender or a physical specimen, but he can play right-back and get the ball in early and you have strikers who can score goals.’ It is common sense
2019 11 18b Retrieve
[Steve Walsh says Everton passed up the chance to sign Erling Haaland, Andy Robertson and Harry Maguire] Everton wouldn’t take them. I had a deal done for Jonny Evans too before he came to Leicester, but again they wouldn’t take him. Erling Haaland, the striker with Salzburg, I had him and his dad at the club with a deal done for €4 million. The club wouldn’t back me
2020 03 18 Retrieve
[Leicester City title hero Steve Walsh lands new job in MLS] I am very much looking forward to working with a team of like-minded professionals who are driven with the same purpose of making Charlotte MLS successful.
It gives me the opportunity to be part of something special and I am truly excited for the challenge. Our aim is to give the soccer fans of Charlotte a team of which they can be truly proud