Recent reports suggest that Chelsea and Jose Mourinho are still keeping an eye on Lazar Markovic, with Mourinho flying out to watch him play for Serbia against Croatia recently. Having recently joined Benfica on a five year deal, with long term interest in the player from both Chelsea and Mourinho, here is a scouting report looking at the qualities that he has shown in a recent game between Wales and Serbia.
N.B. Please note that this report is written in the style of a Scouting report and not a regular article.
Height: 1.75m. Foot: Right. Date of birth: 2/3/1994 [19 years old].
Previous club[s]: FK Borac Cacak before joining FK Partizan Beograd – 2006-2011 youth football & 2011-2013 senior football.
Position[s]: Any of the 3 behind the striker in a 4x2x3x1 & as a striker.
Language[s] spoken: Serbian. Nationality: Serbian.
International caps: 9 senior caps for Serbia, also capped at youth level.
International goals: 1 senior goal vs Wales in World Cup Qualifying group stage.
Club games played: 65 senior games for Partizan, 2 for Benfica.
Club goals scored: 14 for Partizan, 2 for Benfica.
Injury record: No long term or recurring injuries found.
Contract: Currently contracted till 30/6/2018 [signed 1/7/2013].
Agent: LIAN SPORTS
Playing on the left as an inverted winger/10 in a 4x2x3x1. Rotation with teammate to move inside to become number 10 and very right footed. Not used directly in 1st phase build up – but clever enough to move to anticipate second ball flick on. In second phase he moves deep & inside to receive to feet, then short layoffs & quick combinations. Different behaviours in third phase. He will provide width and stay wide if his fullback hasn’t overlapped or is in possession of the ball. An example of this is when he was holding width to prevent Gunter pressing Kolarov [left in space with the ball from King] before Kolarov’s goal [*video 1 – pause on the 10th second, before the shot]. If the fullback has overlapped or is high and wide, he will come inside – often receiving the ball between lines for short lay off combinations or making big inside diagonal runs with the ball across the front of the defensive line to wait for a diagonal run into depth from a teammate to find a pass into depth [fantastic weight and timing on pass]. With progression on the ball from Kolarov he will also move between lines to receive to feet then quick one touch passes to draw his fullback away from his position to free space for Kolarov on the overlap. An example of this is the build up of the first Serbia goal against Wales [*video 2 – watch from the 12th second]. In 4th phase he will make inside movements to become second striker and look to receive the pull back cross on the edge of the box or penalty spot. Always looks to receive to feet and be involved in the game. Low amount of touches/involvement = increase frequency of early inside movements.
Areas to improve will be his influence and personality on the game, as he could be involved in possession more often in the game. He can also improve when he isn’t in possession to help teammates or to receive the ball, like running into the depth behind defenders to then have the capacity to stretch the opposition vertically, having already the ability to stretch them horizontally.
Used on the left of a 4x4x2 – medium block. Often showed good positional sense to stay in his defensive zone and keep compact. Spots and reacts to triggers from him to press to regain possession, such as bad touches and poor weight on pass. Aggression to press his man and will then look to recover zonal position, rather than man mark fullback. Showed the intelligence to recognise a defensive overload on his fullback on one occasion [with Ramsey moving over to the right], reacting to get back to delay attack and create numerical balance.
Quick and intense actions, using his mobility over short distances to break lines and find space. Good control and first touch when running close to full speed and good, open body position to receive the ball when moving between lines. Also has ability to go past opponents, as well as vision and ability to see and penetrate depth. Fantastic capacity to draw opponent with or without ball to create space for others.
Quick and aggressive change of attitude to regain ball initially – will then look to recover position if the ball isn’t recovered. Shows great desire to recover the ball & is clever enough to run back to cover the fullbacks position if they have overlapped.
With quick counter attacks from the opposition, where the fullback is overlapping he will often track him, but will not always get goal side & be caught out.
Due to his poor ability in the air and height, he was used on the edge of the box, moving for short corner. Should look to improve his ability to take corners, as this would give him greater influence on this area of the game.
Was used for a short free kick combination on an offensive frontal free kick, standing behind the wall then moving inside to receive to feet on the edge of the box to shoot.
Frontal free kicks and free kicks from the side are also areas where he can improve and have a greater influence on the game, by increasing his ability to take free kicks.
Again, due to his poor ability in the air and height, he was used on the edge of box-looking to block short option of the corner. Could also be left on the halfway line if there are better defensive options, allowing him to concentrate on offensive transitions from corners.
Said when he was 17 that he wouldn’t leave Serbia for two years and kept to his word, showing that he is doing what he thinks is best for his development as a person and footballer, rather than moving early to a big club or for money. Also chose the right team to join in Benfica, where he will often play and have time to develop his game further before moving to one of the top leagues.
Showed good communication during the game with his fullback. An example was with Bale on the ball and Gunter overlapping, telling his fullback to watch the overlap and showing Bale down the outside [onto his right foot] knowing that he wants to move inside and shoot.
Generally showed good desire throughout game, both offensively and defensively, although there were parts of the game where he lost concentration [bad touch with lots of space to run into in an offensive transition & allowing opposition fullback to get goal side of him with the ball].
Currently a top talent, so it’s up to him in the coming years to start improving his numbers [goals & assists], efficiency in games and to develop his game [become a good free kick & corner taker, improve long shots, increase use and ability of his left foot, ect.] to improve the areas of the game where he isn’t effective [set plays, for example] to allow him to start influencing more areas of the game and to help him become a top player.
Connection with ball: 4
Connection with ball and teammate:4
Connection with ball, teammate and opponent: 4
Connection with ball, teammates and opponents: 4
Rating out of five: 4