Speaking on the PROFOOTBALL Digital YouTube channel (7 December), as translated by isport, Ukraine national team manager Alexander Petrakov claims the 32-year-old is training hard, despite a lack of opportunities for the Irons this season.
“The coach does not count on him,” Petrakov said. “Andrey is a very serious person. When I asked him for the first time why he didn’t play in the club, he told me that there was a window ahead and he asked to play for the Under-23s.
“A person with such experience is not shy and goes to play with the young. I can’t call [David] Moyes in West Ham and ask why Andrey isn’t playing. It’s none of my business, I can’t interfere in club affairs.
“He understands what he lacks – he stays, performs additional exercises. On Thursday, he will play in the Europa League.”
He arrived to great fanfare in 2018 but after suffering an injury early in his first season, never managed to fully recover and make himself an integral player in the starting XI.
The Ukrainian is yet to start a Premier League match this term and he has been an unused substitute in their last three, with the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Nikola Vlasic ahead of him as replacements for the attacking midfield trio of Said Benrahma, Jarrod Bowen and Pablo Fornals.
He’s featured more heavily in the Europa League, operating as a centre-forward in the absence of Michail Antonio, but with the Irons expected to sign a new striker in January, his game time could be further reduced.
An Irons exit in 2022 looks certain, and he could even leave in January if the right offer comes in.
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