Sheffield United: New scout Lee Turnbull excited to link up with Nigel Adkins once more

Lee Turnbull
Lee Turnbull

Their alliance began some years ago in the treatment room at Glanford Park, one a physiotherapist and the other Scunthorpe United’s club captain.

They were reunited again last week, at Sheffield United. Former physio Nigel Adkins is now a successful manager; ex-Scunny skipper Lee Turnbull now a highly-rated scout.

Turnbull signed Billy Sharp for Scunthorpe for �100k. It later cost United �2m to buy him back

Turnbull signed Billy Sharp for Scunthorpe for �100k. It later cost United �2m to buy him back

And the bond remains as strong as ever.

“Nigel is a good friend of mine and I suppose you could say I was his first client,” Turnbull, who was officially confirmed as United’s new head of recruitment and scouting last week, said.

“I was Scunthorpe captain when he started as our physio and we’ve remained good friends ever since. We have a great working relationship, and that was the defining factor in deciding to leave Scunthorpe after nearly 20 years there.

“The opportunity to work with Nigel, Andy Crosby and Dean Wilkins, at a club like Sheffield United, is a very exciting one and I can’t wait to get going.”

Turnbull - a former striker during his playing days with, amongst others, Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield - certainly has a knack of discovering promising frontmen. Gary Hooper, who Turnbull first saw aged 17 playing for Grays Athletic, cost £175,000 and was sold to Celtic for £2.4m. Andy Keogh and Martin Paterson were both sold for decent profits, and Turnbull scouted Billy Sharp at United before Scunthorpe paid around £100,000 for his services.

Two years, and over 50 goals later, he rejoined United for £2million.

“I usually lay my eyes on a player and make a few brief notes,” said Turnbull, outlining his scouting philosophy.

“This could be six months, 12 months or even 18 months before you make a move for the player. I like to watch the player both home and away if possible and make sure that I go through various DVDs.

“It’s important not to rush these sorts of things... watching a player both home and away means you see a mental side to him.

“It’s not just me, though; the whole management team goes through this process with players. The process has evolved over the last seven or eight years, though; there’s a lot of software available now, meaning players’ data is at your fingertips and players don’t have to be on your doorstep for you to scout them.

“I am looking forward to working with Nigel again, and hopefully helping the management team progress out of League One sooner rather than later.”