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Ukraine’s Mykolenko gets Everton nod as Dzyuba blasts ‘double standards’


London (AFP) – Everton’s Ukraine defender Vitalii Mykolenko will play in Thursday’s FA Cup tie against Boreham Wood just 48 hours after his fierce criticism of Russia captain Artem Dzyuba over the invasion of his country.

Mykolenko, who joined Everton from Dynamo Kyiv in January, used an expletive-filled social media post to strongly condemn Dzyuba and his team-mates for their silence over Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

Russia have since been suspended from all international competitions by FIFA and UEFA.

Everton manager Frank Lampard said the 22-year-old has the club’s backing and will start when the non-league side visit Goodison Park for the fifth round clash.

“He will play and that was a decision I’d made regardless of the outside situation. It feels like the training and the potential of playing is a relief for him,” Lampard told reporters on Wednesday.

“The conversations I’ve had with him I’d rather keep private because they are delicate, but at the moment we’re giving him all the support and I’m sure he feels that from our end.”

Mykolenko embraced his Ukraine team-mate Oleksandr Zinchenko on the pitch before Manchester City played Everton last weekend as Toffees fans showed their support for the pair with an emotional reception.

Admitting it was vital to show solidarity with Mykolenko at such a difficult time, Lampard said: “He’s a new player here so there’s so many things that have happened to him, let alone moving over here as a young man, coming to a different country, a different city and a different football club.

“He’s now having to contend with all this so he has all our support on that front.”

Dzyuba later hit back at what he claimed were “double standards” in the decision to ban Russia from the World Cup.

“Why do some have all the rights while we are accused of all the evils?” Dzyuba wrote on Instagram.

“Why does everyone always shout that sport and politics should not mix but, at the first occasion, when it comes to Russia, we completely forget this principle?” 

He added: “I am against discrimination based on nationality. I am not ashamed to be Russian. I am proud to be Russian.

Dyzuba said that he was disappointed with the “wickedness, filth and bile that is now being poured over all Russians” before emphasising “war is horrible”.

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