Mykhailo Mudryk has taken his good form from club football into the international break as he continues to have a big impact on Ukraine’s fixtures. Compared to the last international break, one in which he was booed by England fans and Chelsea supporters that had travelled to watch their country for the away fixture in Poland, Mudryk is in a much better place.
He has started four of the past five games for his club, starting with the first game back in September, away to Bournemouth. Since then he has pushed himself back into the thinking under Mauricio Pochettino and only found himself out of the team that beat Burnley 4-1 due to an injury.
“He was doing well,” Pochettino said after Mudryk scored his first goal for the Blues in the 2-0 win over Fulham on October 2. “[It is] unlucky that at half time he felt something in his quad but we hope that it is not a big issue and he will be ready for Saturday.”
He then explained the decision to select Raheem Sterling instead of him at Turf Moor: “He is fully recovered now but we felt we shouldn’t take a risk with him, so he starts on the bench with the potential to come on and make an impact for us.” Mudryk was a second half addition in that game and has extended his run of form into his latest appearance.
Although he was taken off shortly before the end of Ukraine’s vital 2-0 win over North Macedonia on Saturday, sparking worries over a potential injury after he also went down and received treatment moments earlier, Mudryk took his confidence from domestic matches into the game and produced another clip for the highlights reel.
After being sent the ball in the first half, Mudryk snapped the ball with his right foot, glancing it to his left and underneath his other foot, chopping inside and sending the defender flying the other way. It then left him with acres of room to sprint into on the wing. It may not have resulted in a goal or even a shot at goal but it was once more proof of just why Chelsea rate their 22-year-old so highly.
Mudryk has been capable of providing such moments even during his underwhelming start to life in London but has so far not matched that with his end product. His profligate nature in front of goal has continued an alarming trend across the Chelsea team in recent years but the two week period before this latest break brought about a difference.
The Blues ended their three game scoreless run, bagging seven in their next three to slowly start to climb the Premier League. This is just the start for Pochettino but also represents reward for the good work that has so far gone on without bringing results in the opening two months of the season.
For Mudryk his next chance to impress for Chelsea comes against Arsenal on October 21 and will undoubtedly see him cop plenty of attention from the travelling fans after he looked to be headed to the Emirates Stadium before a late change of heart and a transfer hijack.
Wearing the No.10 shirt at Chelsea, one that has been donned by Juan Mata and Eden Hazard in the past 10 years, Mudryk is hoping to match the positive memories that the attacking pair had during these games. In the week that Hazard announced his retirement, timely before Chelsea face a team that he often made look foolish with moments of skill and quality that few could match, Mudryk showed his own glimpse of Hazard-like play.
The next step is very much to try and emulate the Belgian’s output. Hazard scored 85 times in the Premier League across seven years. Outside of the anomolous 2015/16 season the fewest goals he scored was nine with 16 or more goals and assists in six years including give years of 20 or more combined.
Mudryk is a long way off that and doesn’t have the youth body of evidence that Hazard at the same age had compiled at Lille, but the steps have at least finally been in the right direction for the winger.