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Player In My Pocket: Miroslav Stoch, Slovakia Game Changer And Fenerbahçe New Face

Miroslav Stoch celebrates after scoring Slovakia's winner against Russia in Euro 2012 qualifying. Miňo, next time we discuss the tattoos. 

By Майоров Владимир (
Miroslav Stoch celebrates after scoring Slovakia's winner against Russia in Euro 2012 qualifying. Miňo, next time we discuss the tattoos. By Майоров Владимир (

***If you didn't know who was going in my pocket this week, you haven't been paying attention.***

Dear football gods: please realize that, when I put players in my pocket, I'm placing them there as a friendly gesture. Despite what the phrase means in traditional footy jargon, putting them in my pocket does not imply that I can neutralize them on the football pitch. These players may be tiny but they would run circles around me. Stop striking them with poor form simply because I have chosen to carry them inside my pocket. Thank you.

Onto the regularly scheduled program.

When I take out the players stuffed into my pocket, it's not likely to be a very balanced side, for I love collecting attacking midfielders with a propensity for creative play. And while I try my best not to equate pocket players with total fangirling, I can't pretend on this one, for I have a total crush on Miroslav Stoch. Seriously, I'm like a thirteen-year-old girl hanging up magazine cutouts of Hollywood poster boys all over her bedroom walls, except unlike those pretty boys, Stoch is actually talented. So this is justified. Also, it's tough to find magazines with photos of him.

But in my defense, Miňo is a perfect pocket player. For one thing, he's only 5'6", and even that might be an exaggeration. He's easy to find on the field: just look for the little guy whose shorts appear about to fall off. You'd think teams could find kits to fit these tiny players, but it doesn't seem to be a priority. More eye-catching than even his baggy shorts, though, is the way Stoch manages to make an impact on a match.

The other day I was watching ESPN3's stored cache of the Slovakia-Ireland Euro qualifying match. Although I was mocked for watching a match nearly two weeks old, I was reviewing it for a reason (not simply Stoch-ing). After Miňo scored the winning goal against Russia, due to injury he'd started the match on the bench for Slovakia. I wanted to see the change that occurred when he took the field with twenty minutes left to play. That change was almost instantaneous, with Stoch's first touch being a shot at goal. His presence for the repre opened up the left flank and brought attack after attack into dangerous areas.

Sometimes I wonder if Chelsea miss this little pocket player, who they sent on loan to FC Twente last year before Fenerbahçe signed him this summer. I realize the Blues are slightly overloaded on midfielders, but with Frank Lampard and Yossi Benayoun apparently both dead, and Ramires having picked up a knock, and the fragility of Michael Essien's knees, seems like it might have been good to have a decent midfielder lying about. Then again, it'd be tough to hold me back from buying that Chelsea away kit if I could have Stoch emblazoned on its back. Apparently Fenerbahçe does not enjoy selling its kits to people in far off lands. Hint, Fenerbahçe. Hint.


PS: Miroslav Stoch turned 21 yesterday. Miňo, I am so sorry for missing your birthday, but if you want to come to the US any time soon, I'll make up for it by buying you a legal drink in this country.