Russian FC Rostov
If there were a Most Improved Player Award in RFPL, according to the media, Dmitri Poloz would have definitely got it. A player that was practically expelled from Lokomotiv football academy, have grown up into a national team player. This season he scored goals against Anderlecht, Ajax, PSV, Bayern Munich and Sparta Prague. Dmitri is a player with uncertain future, as FC Rostov has no money and no sponsors.

Dmitri Poloz began his career in football school in Stavropol, from where he was recruited to Lokomotiv Moscow. There he played together with Alexandr Kokorin, former star of Dinamo Moscow and a player of FC Zenit now. Nobody saw any potential in him, and former president Olga Smorodskaya even called him "a child of limit" (there have to be five Russians on the pitch according to modern rules in RFPL). Therefore, in 2012 he left to FC Rostov.

Date of birth
Nationality Club
Shirt number
Transfermarkt cost
Russian FC Rostov
Attacking midfielder/ striker
183 cm
73 kilos
6 Mln. €
Regardless, what happened in Lokomotiv Moscow at that time, coaches always praised Poloz, and they gave him some positives marks. Rinat Bilyaletdinov, who worked thereat, responded: "I trained Poloz, Kokorin and Chochiev. I know him as hardworking person. I can point out his speed of pace and excellent teamwork, as he can play the ball back and open himself for the ball. I recommended him to Yuri Semin, Poloz was in the training camp together with the team, but then Olga Smorodskaya became club's president, and everything changed… I'm sure; such player can't be lost anywhere». All in all, Rinat Bilyaletdinov was right, he has grown up, he is suggested to be a key player in FC Rostov, he brings not only results, he carries some additional value.

How happened that Dmitri Poloz, one of the best secondary strikers in the league, who can act on the both wings and in the center, was discarded by Lokomotiv? Which criteria are critical for attacking midfielder? How is his progress conditioned by?

Dmitri Poloz is an arrowhead in the team, which acts without nominal forwards. FC Rostov's formation present 5-3-2 scheme, where Poloz and Azmoun stick to the center of the pitch or on the border of defensive midfielders and center backs responsibilities, they press opponents as far as possible and wait for an opportunity to begin a counterattack. FC Rostov can awesomely defend and transit from defense to attack, thanks to pace of Azmoun and Poloz. In a match of CL against Bayern Munich Poloz used the mistake of Douglas Costa and intercepted his pass to Jerome Boateng, accelerated and brought a ball to Sardar Azmoun, so he could score. Poloz is able to create chances for his teammates (31 key passes in RFPL) and cares about his own opportunities. Still, he took part in a third of team's goals in the league (5 goals+ 5 assists).

In fact, Kurban Berdyev turned Dmitri Poloz into perfectly working mechanism on the football pitch. However, we still doubt, as the players who left Rostov do not show same results in other teams. Timofey Margasov was not able to consolidate nor in KS Samara neither in Lokomotiv Moscow. Centre-back Bastos is rarely seen in first eleven in Lazio, but the payed no less than five Mln. euros for his transfer. Centre-back Ivan Novoseltsev is not an option in Zenit now, and it turned out that Vitaly Djakov was a flop in Dinamo Moscow, as they were relegated first time in their history. From one point of view, Kurban Berdyev can spot and develop talents, but, on the other hand, he correctly uses skills of his players, reinforcing their weaknesses through other players' abilities.

Trained and disciplined universal striker has to be able to control the ball, open, converse his chances into goals, he should not be afraid to dribble past opponents and create opportunities for his teammates. He must be agile, quick and smart. He must be a constant threat. Let's analyze his stats during last 4 seasons and look, if he is progressing as they say.
As we see, last season was the best one in Dmitri's entire career. FC Rostov fought to get the title first time in their history and they practically became champions. They needed just 2 points in the end to become champions.

In addition, looking at these figures, we feel that Dmitri Poloz has got so tired this season. We, of course, remember his magnificent European season (CL+Europe league), and his devotion that he had put in his game. Nevertheless, a fact remains a fact; Dmitri Poloz has some difficulties playing 30 matches per season on the same level. On average, he plays 70 minutes a game. He cannot sustain more physically, and it is easily noticed in final third of the match. Dmitri stops moving when he passes the ball, he stops tackling, stops pressing and cannot accelerate that much as he did before.

Is he the best attacking midfielder in the league? Chisamba Lungu (FC Ural) duels more often, tries to get the ball on his own(2,8 interceptions+tackles against 0,8 for Poloz), Cristian Pasquato finds his teammates in beneficial position more often than Poloz (2,3 key passes against 1,3), strikers Jonatas(FC Rubin) and Bekim Balaj (FC Terek) more often and more accurately shoot on goal than Poloz (3 shots pg 40% accuracy and 1,8 44% against 1,6 31% respectively), Alexandr Kokorin(FC Zenit) and Alexey Ionov(PFC CSKA) less often make mistakes and lose possession. Mollo and Giuliano (both – FC Zenit) more often and more successfully take on, dribble past opponents (3,5 dribbles 65% and 1,9 68% against 1,8-28% respectively), and if we look from this point of view, Dmitri Poloz is just an average player in the league.

Nevertheless, having all this in mind, Poloz is a kind and good person, who has many friends. He is exemplary father and husband. He is a trainable and disciplined player, as others do not play for Berdyev's teams. He will be involved in a national team's squad more, as long as he plays for Berdyev's teams. This particular coach can use his uncommon speed, his vision, and his skill of finding Sardar Azmoun with a pass (3 assists on Azmoun during season). He can open himself and play back a ball to Cristian Noboa. He knows and understands his task of escalating the pressure and sharpening attacking actions, and he tries to accomplish these tasks. Still, there is a question, even if you can get Dmitri Poloz free, without any transfer fee (systematical problems of Rostov with salary payouts are well known), do you need this attacking joker who can withstand 70 minutes of actions per game with a number of total 35 games per season? There are people with same roles in RFPL: Jano Ananidze and Lorenzo Melgarejo(both FC Spartak). Do you need a player with a salary of 400-500 Thd. dollars annually?
We believe that buying players from FC Rostov in not an easy task, you need to do it very and very cautiously. You should thoroughly learn and study players' strengths and weaknesses, consider all of their shortcomings, if these players are not Noboa or Azmoun. Main team's principle is same as the Popovich's San-Antonio Spurs, «from good to best». Collective benefit is much more important than individual qualities and their stats. Can Dmitri Poloz succeed in a team, where clear responsibilities' distribution exists? A distribution that helps a player to do what he does best, and does not bother him with other stuff. Of course, he can succeed. Can he win a game on his own, using his qualities on the level of Top-5 leagues in Europe? Unfortunately, it is not likely.

#Poloz #Rostov #RFPL #nationalteam #Azmoun #Noboa #Berdyev

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