Soccer  

Oleks Zinchenko ready to play despite worry for Ukraine

Pep Guardiola says Oleks Zinchenko is ready to play for Manchester City this weekend despite being “worried” about the situation in Ukraine, while West Ham manager David Moyes has confirmed Andriy Yarmolenko has been given time off following Russia’s invasion.

Zinchenko will be available for City’s trip to Everton on Saturday but Yarmolenko is likely to miss West Ham’s match with Wolves on Sunday.

The pair both represent Ukraine, which was invaded by Russian military on Thursday.

“He [Zinchenko] is worried,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday. “The country he was born, family and friends, people killed, how would you feel?

“The team and club is close to him and will support him. Of course, he has our support.

“Innocent people are dying and he knows we are here. They are headlines around the world and he’s concerned but he’s a strong guy, and of course not easy. The training session today [Friday] and yesterday he was brilliant, he’s ready to play in case he has to play — he’s ready.”

Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed Yarmolenko has been granted time away from the club.

“He is not in a good position, he has got a few days off,” he said. “It is a real difficult time for him and his family.

“I spoke with him yesterday [Thursday] and he was upset as you can imagine and rightly so, we just hope everything goes well and all his family members keep safe.”

Zinchenko, who has been capped 48 times by Ukraine and also captained his country in 2021, was pictured at a protest in Manchester on Thursday night.

“What do you do if someone attacked the UK?” said Guardiola. “What would you feel? That’s what he feels. It’s a pity as innocent people are dying. All around the world people live in peace and want a house, a plate on the table, some people to love and that’s all.

“People don’t expect much. I’m not involved but it’s complicated to arrive at this point, always innocent people pay.”