If Mark Hughes is still searching for a physical centre forward, then the answer might be closer than he thinks. While the senior side were preparing for this afternoon’s Premier League battle with Stoke, Marcello Trotta continued his fine form with a devastating hat-trick as Fulham’s under-18s put five past their Chelsea counterparts at Motspur Park.
Trotta, who starred in the youth team as they reached the quarter finals of the FA Youth Cup last year, demonstrated both his aerial ability and potential as a finisher as Fulham’s youngsters hammered their local rivals in the SW6 derby. Chelsea failed to heed an early warning of the danger posed by the Italian youth international when Trotta headed disappointing wide from in front of goal but he made no mistake when capitalising on a horrendous mistake by Chelsea defender Aziz Deen-Conteh, robbing the centre back and beating the goalkeeper with an assured finish.
Aussie winger Corey Gameiro sped clear of a terribly square Chelsea defence to score a second and Trotta finished the contest with a sublime bit of finishing before the break. Making the most of some half-hearted defending at a corner, Trotta nonchalantly turned his man and fired home clinically to make it 3-0.
Trotta showed terrific anticipation to claim his hat-trick in the second half following in a shot from substitute Charles Banya and tucking away the rebound from close range. Chelsea’s top scorer Todd Kane did steer in a consolation but Banya grabbed a deserved goal as he exploited some slack marking at a free-kick to fire in the fifth.
The story has to be Trotta’s impressive development, though. Fulham will need to move him up to make the most of his undoubted talent. The question is when.