Vitalii Mykolenko brought his excellent Premier League form to the international stage as the Everton defender was named Ukraine’s man of the match following their controversial European Championship qualifier against Italy.
After refusing the most penalties against Italy’s Bryan Cristante, Mykhaylo Mudryk will have to settle for a place in the play-offs.
At least national team boss Serhiy Rebrov will have a defender in the best shape of his life in Vitalii Mykolenko to line up his rearguard in the crucial decider in March. The Everton man maintains his excellent recent form while Ukraine retained Luciano Spalletti’s Azzurri on distance.
Everton’s Vitalii Mykolenko in the best form of his career
Mykolenko won the Man of the Match award after receiving 51 percent of the vote from Ukrainian fans. For comparison: goalkeeper Anatoly Trubin took second place with only 19 percent.
And you can now add Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo to the ever-growing list of talented strikers who have been kept under wraps by Everton’s ever-improving number 19. Mykolenko also makes the most of Mo Salah and Jarrod Bowen while discovering a knack for game-winning contributions at the other end of the pitch too.
Ukraine is facing the play-offs for the 2024 European Championship
Mykolenko, resp ‘Lion‘ for another strong performance at full-time, said before the game that he was playing the best football of his career (UA Tribuna). And given this evidence, it’s certainly difficult to disagree.
“He’s been brilliant lately,” said Everton team-mate James Tarkowski Toffees website after Mykolenko scored the opening goal in a 1-1 draw with Brighton in early November.
“He’s up against some good players and to be honest he was one of our best players. So he deserves a goal.
“It was nice for him.”
Everton paid around £17m to bring Mykolenko to Goodison Park from Dinamo Kiev in 2022. The likeable left-back is a rare success, emerging from the miserable Rafa Benitez era.
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