London (AFP) – West Ham’s Ukrainian winger Andriy Yarmolenko has been given time off as he struggles to deal with the shock of Russia’s invasion of his country, manager David Moyes said on Friday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday that has claimed dozens of lives and displaced at least 100,000 people.
Yarmolenko was born in Russia to Ukrainian parents, who moved back to their homeland when he was a young child.
The 32-year-old Ukraine international ended a lengthy Twitter hiatus to plead for peace this week when he wrote: “Pray for Ukraine. No War.”
The former Dynamo Kiev player will not feature in West Ham’s Premier League match against Wolves on Sunday after Moyes decided to give him a break.
“He’s not in a very good position at the moment — we’ve given him a few days off,” Moyes said at his pre-match press conference. “We’ll do all we can to help him. It’s a really difficult time for him and his family.
“I spoke with him yesterday and he was upset, which you can imagine. We just hope his family keep safe.”
Everton manager Frank Lampard said he would speak to Ukraine defender Vitalii Mykolenko before deciding whether he was in the right frame of mind to feature in Saturday’s game against Manchester City.
Mykolenko, 22, wrote an Instagram post on Thursday about hearing “the anxious voice of my parents who are looking for an opportunity to protect themselves” during the invasion.
Lampard said: “He is OK. I’ve spoken to him, the club have spoken to him. He has every bit of support we can possibly give him in terms of personal touch and club support if and when he needs it.
“Who knows how we can help him? It is ultra-important he feels that from us. The decision whether he plays or is available is for me and him to speak about.”
Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, strongly critical of Putin on social media, is available for selection at Goodison Park after a conversation with his manager, Pep Guardiola.
“We spoke personally with him and everyone has spoken,” said Guardiola, whose player attended a demonstration against the invasion in Manchester city centre on Thursday.
“These are headlines today all around the world and it’s a concern but Aleks is an incredibly strong guy. It’s not easy. But yesterday in training he was brilliant. He is ready to play if he has to.”
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