Everton’s left-back, Vitalii Mykolenko, continued his outstanding form from the Premier League onto the international stage, earning the title of Ukraine’s Man of the Match after a controversial European Championship qualifier against Italy, writes the HITC. Despite being denied a clear penalty late in the match, Ukraine secured a spot in the play-offs.
National team manager Serhiy Rebrov can rely on Mykolenko’s exceptional form as they face a crucial decider in March. The Everton defender’s recent performances have been instrumental in keeping opponents at bay, with his standout displays not going unnoticed by supporters.
In the match against Italy, Mykolenko received 51 percent of the votes from Ukraine supporters, securing the Man of the Match award. Goalkeeper Anatoly Trubin came in second with just 19 percent. Mykolenko’s defensive prowess was highlighted by his ability to thwart talented forwards like Aston Villa’s Nicolo Zaniolo, Liverpool’s Mo Salah, and West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen.
Lauded as a ‘lion’ for his ferocious on-field performances, Mykolenko expressed before the match that he believes he is playing the best football of his career. His recent contributions have extended beyond defense, with crucial game-changing moments, including opening the scoring in a 1-1 draw against Brighton at the start of November.
Everton teammate James Tarkowski praised Mykolenko’s recent brilliance, stating, “He’s come up against some good players, and he’s been one of our best players to be fair to him. So he deserves a goal. It was nice for him.”
The Ukrainian left-back joined Everton from Dinamo Kiev in 2022 for around £17 million, emerging as a rare positive during the challenging Rafa Benitez era at Goodison Park. Mykolenko’s consistent and stellar performances make him a key figure for both Everton and the Ukrainian national team.