Vitaliy Mykolenko: “Aspiration is probably the most important thing in football and in life”

Vitaliy Mykolenko: “Aspiration is probably the most important thing in football and in life”

Before joining Everton FC, Vitaliy Mykolenko did a big interview for Dynamo TV. A part of it is for your attention.

- Serhiy Sydorchuk once said than a lot of teammates don’t know your actual name. Is that true?

- He told that two years ago. Now everyone calls me Mykola. Even my girlfriend and parents don’t call me Vitaliy a lot. Parents say “son”, girlfriend usually says Mykola. But about 80 per sent people in the streets say Kolia.

- Is this the most exciting stage of your career?

- I guess so. It’s very emotional for me, my parents and my girlfriend as she’s going with me.

- Who’ll be responsible for music issues in the team now that you leave?

- Shaparenko and Liedniev are first candidates. It’s not that I was always doing this myself.

- At some point, Olexandr Karavayev became your best friend in the team despite quite significant age gap. What unites you?

- Even before he joined Dynamo we were communicating at the national team camp. It’s not something you can explain. If you like a person, you’ll find common ground.

- I heard a story about 8 people having a sleepover at your one-room apartment.

- I guess I was brought up this way. We rented an apartment next to Heroyiv Dnipra station. It was horrible. I lived there for 8 years. But still, when guys didn’t have a place to stay for a night, we invited them.

- Is there any division between Dynamo and Shakhtar players at the national team camp?

- When you don’t see your friend from another team for three-four months, you miss him. So, we’re quite emotional when we come to the national team camp. Of course during the Euro-2020 we spent over a month together and things weren’t that emotional, but still there were no fights.

- It’s seems you don’t feel a youngster at the age of 22.

- At first, when I just joined the first team, I didn’t talk to anyone although I’m quite an extrovert. I was afraid to come to the canteen. But then things got fine and now it’s not easy to shut me up. In a good way.

- In Dynamo U19 you played as centre back. Who turned you into a lateral?

- I’m not sure. Maybe, Maksim Shatskikh. He knows me since the academy, where I played as left and right back. At first it was quite difficult as I played as centre back for reserve team and as lateral for the first team.

- Is Dubinchak ready to replace you as left back?

- Of course he is. I played a lot alongside him for the youth team. He’s a great defender.

- How did your transfer to Everton happen?

- I found out about some interest to me on December 12. I was told to come to Dynamo office. I didn’t even know which club we were supposed to talk about. When they asked me if I had English visa, I understood it was English club.

When I came, Ihor Surkis said I’m like a son to him, so it’s up to me to decide whether to stay in Dynamo or not. “If you’re ready to leave, just tell me, and we’ll continue negotiations”, - he said. I told him I’m not sure I’m ready for this move, but I really want that. Aspiration is probably the most important thing in football and in life. There were a lot of rumors, so at first I didn’t believe that could happen to me.

My parents and girlfriend told me it’s all like a movie. When things were settled, I got into the car and cried for like 30 minutes. It’s hard to explain what I was feeling. I was happy and scared at the same time.

- Aren’t you afraid of the competition for starting spot?

- I go there to make headway as a professional and to learn from such players as Lucas Digne. We used to meet on the field when featuring for national teams. I’m happy I’ll be working alongside such performers.

- What do you think of your new coach Rafael Benitez?

- We’ve already talked, so I can say he’s a very positive person. Everyone likes such people.

- What was your first meeting like?

- It started with “Hello! Nice to meet you!” We were having breakfast at Everton training ground. Benitez came later. He explained me how Everton are supposed to play, what kind of mistakes defender shouldn’t make. Then we made a photo and he said he’s waiting for my arrival at the club.

- What are your first impressions of Everton infrastructure?

- That’s incredible! Everything is perfect for players, staff and for work… You can go to one of three fields from the locker-room. There’s warm-up ground, gym etc.

- How will you be recalling your career in Dynamo?

- I’ll remember our trips, especially after victorious games, when you feel relaxed. Actually there’re a lot of episodes I can recall, but can’t tell about.

- What would you like to tell Dynamo in a few words?

- Thank you for love to me and understanding. I’m thankful to the team and each person surrounding it. To people working at the training facility, at the academy. Waitresses Natasha and Ira, maid Olya. These people were taking care of us and bringing us up.

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