It’s fair to say that Mykhailo Mudryk hasn’t exactly set fire to English football so far.
The 22-year-old winger was the subject of the January transfer window’s fiercest tug-of-war as Chelsea and Arsenal battled for the baby-faced Ukraine international.
Chelsea eventually won that battle by meeting Shakhtar Donetsk’s £89m demand for a player with little more than one season in senior football.
And after seeing Bukayo Saka shine, Arsenal fans are already claiming it was a lucky escape for their club as Mudryk has since made his best impression of the unseen.
Of the seven appearances he has made for his new club, he has only been on the winning side once.
So for the majority of the sold out Wembley crowd this was a chance to see what all the fuss was about.
And 60 minutes later, they’re still no smarter.
To be fair to Mudryk, he was no worse than most of his teammates and marginally better than some of them.
But it still wasn’t enough to spare him the embarrassment of being smitten every hour by coach Ruslan Rotan, who had described him as “a diamond to be treasured” just last week.
Former Shakhtar academy leader Andres Carrasco Carrillo went so far as to describe Mudryk as ‘a genius’ on matchday programmes.
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No wonder Mudryk seemed so unimpressed when the plaque with his number on it was held up before he had made any significant contribution.
A relieved Arsenal fan said: “I’ve never been so glad we didn’t get a player.”
Another explained: “He’s average. Arsenal dodged a bullet.”
One asked: “Did he play football before joining Chelsea?”
Another added: “Overrated is an understatement Chelsea should call the police as they really got robbed.”
Considering his game stats, Mudryk really couldn’t have had anything to complain about.
One shot wide, no key passes, one dribbling, no free kicks won and disowned four times.
MUCH TO PROVE
But in his defence, it must be pointed out that Ukraine were so far below England’s level that it was almost impossible for anyone to shine in yellow.
Perhaps it was the emotion of the occasion, having been welcomed at Wembley in a way a visiting team had never before received.
If ever wearing a half-and-half scarf was acceptable, this was it.
And as he sang the national anthem, Mudryk, wrapped in the Ukrainian flag, looked like he meant business in his country’s inaugural Euro qualifiers.
But twice in a minute he was beaten to a through ball by Kyle Walker’s pace.
And his next notable contribution came midway through the first half when he accidentally blocked a shot from teammate Ruslan Malinovskyi.
He briefly threatened to open up England’s defense with a quick first pass from the turn, but striker Roman Yaremchuk was sidelined in the build-up play.
And five minutes later Ukraine were twice behind as first Harry Kane and then Bukayo Saka scored quick goals to leave England on cruise control.
And the sight of Saka slicing in to roll one into the top corner only rubbed salt in Mudryk’s wounds.
Two months ago, the Ukrainian Player of the Year had his heart set on becoming Saka’s Arsenal team-mate.
In an interview with Oleksandr Zinchenko’s wife, he even admitted that he dreams of moving to the Emirates.
But that was before the league leaders were overwhelmed by Todd Boehly’s Chelsea billions and he suddenly drifted in midfield, unsure of his place in Graham Potter’s pecking order.
Now he’s playing catch-up with that massive price tag weighing him down while he has to deal with the disappointment of yet another no-show.
His frustration showed in first-half stoppage time as he attempted to launch a kamikaze attack straight through the heart of the English defense before being stopped by Kane, who backtracked all the way to make a tackle.
And if he had hoped things could get better after the break, then again he was unlucky.
No one doubts that there is real talent waiting to shine, it’s just taking longer to reach the surface than most of us anticipated.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7722782/arsenal-mykhailo-mudryk-bukayo-saka-england-ukraine-chelsea/ Arsenal fans were ‘never happier to miss a player’ as Mudryk is dismissed by Saka against England