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Vitalii Mykolenko 19

With Everton having failed to sign back-up players in either full-back position during the summer 2021 transfer window while young prospect Thierry Small left without signing a professional contract and Niels Nkounkou was allowed to go out on loan for the season, a reported bust-up between Lucas Digne and manager Rafael Benitez left the team having to rely on centre-half Ben Godfrey as an emergency option in that position that December.

The situation was eased somewhat, however, by the acquisition of Vitalii Mykolenko from Dynamo Kiev in a deal that was concluded seemingly with minimal fuss before Christmas and then officially announced on New Year's Day 2022.

Though the transfer fee was officially undisclosed, the 22-year-old defender is reported to have cost in the region of €21M (~£18M), the same price the Blues paid for Digne, the player whom Mykolenko looked likely to replace as the Frenchman continued to be linked with a move away.

Able to also play in central defence and as a wing-back. Mykolenko arrived having won 21 caps for Ukraine and started four of their five matches at Euro 2020, helping his country reach the quarter-finals of the competition.

“I have always dreamed of playing in the Premier League," Mykolenko said on evertonfc.com. "English football is where the game was born and I think that it will suit my game very well.

“I am 22 but I don't feel like a youngster. I have experience of playing at European level and hope I will continue to improve as a player. I like to play on the front foot and get forward when I can.

“Modern football demands that full-backs are able to attack as well as defend. I think I am a versatile defender who can get up and down the pitch.

“But I believe desire and commitment are the most important attributes and I will aim to bring those qualities.”

Mylenko chose the number 19 shirt last worn by James Rodriguez, who left the club for the Middle East in September 2021, and made his debut in an FA Cup Third Round win over Hull City.

Although he struggled a little initially with the pace of the Premier League, Mykolenko would reveal himself to have been a highly astute addition as he grew into the Premier League with a string of increasingly assured performances over the second half of 2012-22. from he great love shown toward League, Mykolenko would reveal himself to have been a highly astute addition as he grew into the Premier League with a string of increasingly assured performances over the second half of the season.

His settling-in period was made that much easier by the great love shown toward him in an outpouring of sympathy for the destruction wrought on his homeland by Vladimir Putin's unprovoked, full-on invasion for Ukraine just weeks after Vitalii had arrived in England.

It would culminate in the then 22-year-old being named honorary team captain for the 5th Round FA Cup tie against Boreham Wood and leading the side out draped in the Ukrainian flag and he underscored his arrival in the Premier League with a sumptuous left-foot volley in a vital win over Leicester City, his debut goal for the Toffees, that went a long way to guaranteeing top-flight football for his first full campaign.

FactFile

Squad number 19
Position Left-back
Nationality Ukrainian
Born Cherkasy
Date of birth 29 May 1999
Height 5'-11" (1.80m)
Joined 1 January 2022
Joined from Dynamo Kyiv
Signed under Rafael Benitez
Transfer fee ~£18m
Contract duration 4½ years
Contract expires June 2026
Full debut v Hull City (a)
8 January 2022
Previous Clubs Dynamo Kiev
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry
» TransferMarkt

Everton Career

Season Squad Number League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2022-23 19 30 (4) 0 1 (0) 0 31 (4) 0
2021-22 19 12 (1) 1 3 (0) 0 15 (1) 1
  Totals 42 (5) 1 4 (0) 0 46 (5) 1


Previous Career

Season Team League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals
2016-21 Dynamo Kiev 86 (2) 5 32 (0) 2


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