Only Fools and Horses

Something that flew somewhat under the radar this past week was the announcement that Marcello Trotta has signed a new contract with the club. For those that reacted to news, the response was pretty muted, with many expressing a mild surprise that the club had seen sufficient talent and upside to offer new terms.

Martin Jol’s recent comments regarding Trotta were also interesting:

“Trotta is a goal machine – if he gets the ball in the box he’s very good. But when the ball’s on the deck he’s got to learn to be a bit more composed, in the air with crosses as well.Outside of the box we’re still trying to teach him one or two more things, he should work on his performance.For him going to Wycombe was a great step for him. We have to wait for the next couple of weeks and see if he can get something else.We believe in him. Hopefully he can step up another gear in the next few months.”

So the manager and the club evidently see something that most of us do not. What could it be?

Trotta is currently 19. The hottest young Scottish striker on the market is Jordan Rhodes, aged 22. How does the former compare to the latter in terms of career trajectory? If we look back at the 2009/10 season, the year Rhodes was 19/20 years old ( the season that Trotta is currently entering) we see his explosion onto the scene in league one – 19 goals in 47 appearances in the league.

How does Trotta compare? We can partly answer this due to his highly successful loan spell last season at Wycombe Wanderers where he bagged 8 goals in 8 games. This is a season ‘ahead’ of the trajectory set by Rhodes. Would it be wildly optimistic to propose that Trotta might be able, over the course of the season, to match Rhodes’s league one goal tally from 2009/10?

Considering that Trotta was a revelation for an awful Wycombe Wanderers side who were relegated one off the bottom of the league and that he was put into an underperforming, unfamiliar team at incredibly short notice, it might not be. Remember Rhodes was part of a well functioning and attack minded Huddersfield team. He was able to forge a relationship with his team mates over pre-season and hit the ground running in August.

It would be absurd to suggest that this will definitely happen. But it might explain why Fulham are happy to sign him up long term and are making positive noises about him in the press.

Alex is a Fulham fan based in SW London.

This is an optimistic post that will no doubt be dragged out in future to remind him how wrong he was.

5 thoughts on “Only Fools and Horses

  1. You should not assume that many had not seen sufficient talent particularly after a successful loan move and a good spell in the development squad. Who are these ‘many’?

    1. Apologies if I offended anyone, this was simply the reaction that I have gauged on the messageboards – Other talents have caught the eye (Minkwitz, Frei, Kaca, Mesca) more than Trotta and I do think there was some surprise when he was signed up to a three year deal.

      Perhaps that was more to do with people wanting Clint/Moussa to be the ones signing contracts…

  2. I think it’s a shame he didn’t stay at Wycombe for the rest of the season. He was doing well and was liked.

    Jol said that he wanted him to stay and the inference was that Trotta felt that he’d conquered League 1 and was ready for better. Which was Watford where he made no impact.

    At his age a willingness to learn is crucial. A kid who thinks he knows it all won’t make it. I’d guess it’s that attitude that will determine whether or not he succeeds.

    He certainly isn’t ready for the Premier League yet and will need to be loaned out.

    1. Loaning him out seems like a great idea. I’m looking at this as an American and a fan of ice hockey and baseball, leagues with robust minor league systems where major league teams have the rights to players through their developmental stages, but the players are expected to develop by advancing through minor league teams that are affiliated with the major league teams, though leagues of increasing levels of difficulty (at a varying pace depending on the individual player) before being given an opportunity in the top-tier league. Occasionally a player is ready to play at the top level at a young age, but there isn’t any stigma if a guy needs a few years to develop. It seems like in European football culture, players are just expected to be thrown into action at the top level and sink or swim, and if they’re not good enough at a young age (I mean, Trotta is 19; to cherry-pick one example, when Didier Drogba was 19, he hadn’t even started to break into the first team for Le Mans in Ligue 2) then they’re dismissed as not good enough when, realistically, they’re not good enough YET. The extent to which message board posters seem not to understand that footballers need time to develop is really surprising.

  3. Can’t see him not going out on loan again, unless we don’t sign anyone new. I know that we are low on forwards (we only have 4) and including Trotta, 3 strikers. Jol has made it clear that there is still room for more signings, and that he would like to, however it is never too clear when it comes to Fulham.

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