Owing to a dispute between French left back, Lucas Digne, and former Everton manager, Benitez, which put in doubt the former’s stay at Goodison, the Toffees went for Ukrainian youngster, Vitality Mykolenko, as a replacement.
When the 22-year old ex Dynamo Kyiv’s debut for the EPL side ended in a 2-1 defeat against Norwich, leading to Benitez’s firing, his (Mykolenko) absence from the following game against Digne’s new side raised eyebrows.
Some understandably thought that, unlike the former manager, the new caretaker coach, Duncan Ferguson, didn’t hold the Ukrainian’s ability in high regard.
Speaking to Vlada Sedan, a Ukrainian journalist, the left back shed light on the matter, revealing that the reason he missed the Villa game was because he was uncomfortable after the Norwich game and thus didn’t attend all training sessions.
“I missed a few training sessions…leading up to the game after having some discomfort in my back…and wasn’t sure if I would make the squad,” stated Mykolenko.
Vitality’s strongest points, and the reason he can almost perfectly fit into Digne’s shows are his consistent speed at the back, great recovery runs, and timely crosses, which could earn him a fighting chance with the new manager, Frank Lampard confirmed.
If the discomfort was just that and nothing serious, the Ukrainian international will get his first opportunity/test when his side faces Brentford in an FA Cup clash in four days.