A new football frontier has been conquered by an Aussie – with former Sydney junior coach David Magrone landing the plum job heading Tottenham Hotspur's European scouting operation.
Previously unimaginable that an Australian would be considered for such a role, Magrone – who in his former life as a player agent took teenagers Massimo Luongo and Giancarlo Gallifuoco to Spurs and others to Ipswich Town, Derby County and West Ham United – has now joined White Hart Lane himself.
Magrone, 39, was highly recommended by Spurs football director Tim Sherwood for a position that could see him play a significant part in sculpting the long-term on-field future of the leading London club.
Having also forged close ties with Ajax and its coach Frank De Boer during his numerous years in Europe, Magrone slipped through the net in Australia after being technical director at Premier league St George and Apia Leichhardt.
The only Australian known to hold a prestigious full UEFA 'A' coaching badge, Magrone said: "My first love is probably coaching. But scouting players and recognising talent is a huge part of that, and I have been given a unique and incredible opportunity by Spurs, who have placed a lot of trust and faith in my judgement.
"I'm going to be travelling a hell of a lot and trying to find players for our Academy and under-21 team at Spurs, which has been almost unbeatable this season, and also players who we think can go all the way.
"My goal is basically to unearth the next big talent out there for this club. Tottenham have set me no specific targets but they will want a lot of in-depth information about who's out there and recommendations on players across the continent.
"I'm proud to be a part of things at Spurs.
"Maybe I'm a bit of trailblazer."
Magrone, ultimately, would love to coach in the A-League, where he sees what he describes as a "brick wall".
"There is no coaching pathway back home unless you are a part of the system - or are a former Socceroo," he said.
"These days you have ex-players going straight into senior coaching roles having served minimal, if any apprenticeship, and that tends not to happen much on the continent.
"If you look at Ajax, even a football giant like Denis Bergkamp is starting out coaching the under-14s and De Boer has had to work his way up through the ranks.
"You don’t just go straight in at the top. You need the coaching experience and qualifications."
Magrone's talent-spotting itinerary reads like a Contiki tour schedule: he was in Turkey last week, followed by Paris, Portugal, Spain and Croatia, where he is tracking a $3 million-rated striker for Spurs.
He has a network of scouts working with him, and reports directly to Sherwood and Tottenham’s Academy manager, John McDermott.
"I've always been a Spurs fan," Magrone said.
"I started following them at the age of nine and 30 years later I am working for then. It's something special."
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