Everton defender Seamus Coleman admits he can’t imagine how his Ukraine team-mate Vitalii Mykolenko feels as he watches Russia’s ongoing invasion of his home country from afar.
he 22-year-old Ukraine international joined the Toffees from Dynamo Kyiv in January and watched helplessly from Merseyside as the war raged on.
Coleman, currently on Republic of Ireland international duty, said: “Myko, he’s a fantastic boy. He’s a quiet boy, he’s a really good boy.
“You can’t even imagine how he feels. You are there for him, you try to support him as much as you can, you let him know that you are there for him, the club is there for him, but you know his family and everyone is there, so it’s very good difficult for him.
“We are here for him. I’m sure it’s hard for him to concentrate and do his job, but it’s him, he comes to training every day and does what he can.
“He has the support of his teammates, every little support we can give him.”
Ireland and Ukraine meet home and away in the Nations League in June, although those games may not go ahead due to the hostilities – the Ukrainians were due to meet Scotland in a World Cup play-off semi-final this week.
However, Coleman knows that football is a secondary priority.
He said: “We’re sitting here and talking about how much they’re going through and we really don’t know how much and how difficult their life is over there and for Myko on our behalf how he actually feels, how he sleeps at night .
“I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know how it feels to be there or in their situation. I’m sure football is the last thing on their minds over there.”
Meanwhile, both men find themselves at a club fighting for their lives in the Premier League, with Everton just three points separating them from the relegation zone with 11 games remaining.
Coleman said: “We had a great result against Newcastle and then unfortunately against Crystal Palace, it wasn’t to be.
“I know the fans have been frustrated and I know it is a difficult time for everyone at the football club. But faith, hard work, fire in the stomach and full determination to get out of this situation we are in, that’s all we can deal with.
“We still have 11 games ahead of us, we just have to give everything.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/seamus-coleman-says-everton-players-are-rallying-round-vitalii-mykolenko-41489242.html Seamus Coleman says Everton players are rallying around Vitalii Mykolenko