Milan Lalkovic, unfortunately not sans shirt, in hot pursuit of the ball during a Chelsea FA Youth Cup match. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
It's been five months since I started writing Player In My Pocket, and I only just realized that the abbreviation is "PIMP." Expect to see it used and abused. With the point of PIMP being not just to showcase adorable players that easily fit inside my pocket, but also to introduce readers to players outside the Aston Villa bubble, today's post is about Milan Lalkovič, someone most people haven't heard about if they're not paying attention to the Chelsea youth squad or obsessed with Slovakian footballers. Fortunately, I weirdly follow both, so I can share with the world the joys of Lalkie.
Considering Wikipedia felt it well within their rights to delete a page about Lalkovič, I will now declare myself the foremost English-speaking expert on the man. And yes, he is a man, as that was the first detail I confirmed: he's definitely 18, so I'm allowed to look. Which is reassuring, considering he enjoys taking off his shirt after scoring two goals. He's also only 5'6" (thanks to ChelseaYouth, who let me know his height -- research, it works people!) which means he can absolutely fit inside my pocket. Possibly right next to fellow Slovakian and former Chelsea player Miroslav Stoch.
But a player needs to be more than just a set of abs and a prolific twitter user (best tweet yet: "hahahaha so funny!" Apropos of nothing. What does it mean?!?) to earn a place inside my pocket. When Lalkovič is discussed, the first trait people bring up is speed. Check out these highlights from the Chelsea FA Youth Cup match against Arsenal, in which Lalkie scored both goals to give Chelsea the 2-1 lead.
Lalkovič, starting his run way back by the halfway line, manages to overtake both Arsenal defenders and neatly put the goal away.
That speed, combined with a deft final touch, earned Lalkovič his first call up to the Slovakia U-21 side, earning his first cap in the team's 3-1 defeat to France. As a Lalkovič lover and Slovakia supporter, I'm crossing my fingers that he makes his senior debut sooner than later. Slovakia are a young side, with most of their ability coming from the midfield. They gave Kaiserslautern striker Adam Nemec a run out against Luxembourg, but were reminded why he has only two caps. The repre are in desperate need of another forward, and it's time to take a chance on Lalkovič. What could it hurt, really?
Lalkovič's most recent goal came in Chelsea's reserve match against West Ham on Wednesday. The back and forth match saw Fabio Borini score a hat trick, but the Irons equalized with just over ten minutes to play. Just four minutes later, Josh McEachran sent the ball to Lalkovič, who finished beautifully, lofting the ball over the West Ham keeper.
Even with his pace and finishing abilities, Lalkovič will likely find it impossible to break into a Chelsea squad determined to pay £50m for Fernando Torres and chasing after Alexis Sanchez. Still, keep an eye out, because this one is destined to move out of the Chelsea reserves sooner rather than later.
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