Chelsea must be patient with Mudryk - Shevchenko

Published on: 24 March 2023

Shevchenko (left) managed Ukraine from 2016-to 2021, shortly before Mudryk (right) made his international debut in 2022

Chelsea must be patient with winger Mykhailo Mudryk and see how he performs over the long term, says former Blues striker Andriy Shevchenko.

Mudryk, 22, joined Chelsea from Shakhtar Donetsk in an £89m deal in January and has one assist and no goals from six Premier League games so far.

"Chelsea have bought a talented player when he is very young, for the future," said Shevchenko.

"He's just starting his path in a massive football career."

Mudryk, who signed an eight-and-a-half-year deal at Chelsea, is in Ukraine's squad for their Euro 2024 qualifier against England on Sunday.

"His first step has been the right step, coming to Chelsea," added Shevchenko, Ukraine's manager from 2016 to 2021. "He's part of an ambitious project. He's in good hands.

"The decision to get him right now was down to how much the club believe in his talent. He's on a very long contract, that's very unusual. Chelsea are investing in their future."

Mudryk had not played competitive football since November before joining Chelsea, owing to disruption in the Ukrainian football calendar caused by the ongoing war with Russia and the domestic league's winter break.

"The Premier League usually demands results right now, but let's see how he does in these eight years," Shevchenko added. "Let's see what he can do in the long term. The club must be patient with him, believe in his talent."

Chelsea broke their transfer record to sign Shevchenko from AC Milan for about £30m in 2006. He scored 22 goals during his two-season spell at Stamford Bridge and played in their League Cup final victory in 2007.

"I wish I had come to Chelsea at his [Mudryk's] age," Shevchenko added.

"What worked for me in Milan and London was immersing myself in the culture, studying the language so I can communicate with my team-mates. That will help him acclimatise quicker which is important when you move to any country in the world."

Shevchenko managed his country during their run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020, where they were beaten 4-0 by England in Rome.

Ukraine will be aiming for a measure of revenge when they take on England at Wembley on Sunday as they get their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign under way.

Shevchenko describes the current Ukrainian squad as being in "transition" and admits the talent pool available to caretaker manager Ruslan Rotan has been affected by events in the country.

"It's going to be a difficult moment now whilst the team rebuilds," he said.

"With everything that's going on in Ukraine, it will be hard. There are enough of the old team still around to keep some of that stability.

"But Ukraine is not a country that is going to have a very deep squad, where one player gets out and another one can step in. We need to bring through our new generation. But we are in a transition."


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