SOCCER

‘This player has a prospect’ – Lavrynenko on why FC Inhulets signed Gopey


Handler of the Ukrainian Premier League side has revealed what informed his team’s decision to sign the striker from Nigerian side Wikki Tourist

FC Inhulets manager Serhiy Lavrynenko stated the ‘prospect’ Stephen Gopey has informed the club’s decision to sign him.

The 21-year-old signed a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee from Nigeria Professional Football League side Wikki Tourist.

Despite joining the Petrove based outfit a few days to the commencement of the 2021-22 Ukrainian Premier League season, Gopey is already turning heads at the Inhulets Stadium.

Against Shakhtar Donetsk on Saturday, the striker came off the bench to score as his team bowed 2-1 at the NSK Olimpiyskiy Stadium.

“The first is a good age, 21 years old. The second is his ability to fight, cling to the ball, score. This player has a prospect,” Lavrynenko told media per Inhulets’ website.

“Hopefully, he will gain his optimal physical condition and will be a player of the starting lineup. It all depends on him.

“We took him to develop. I think until today’s match, hardly anyone would have found him even on Wikipedia or Wyscout.

“And after this game, some information will appear in the press tomorrow. The striker was able to show himself well.

“There was Sasha Akimenko, who scored the maximum goals for our club and Nika Sichinava. Now, there is Artem Sitalo and Stephen [Gopey]. Let them score.”

The introduction of the Nigerian for Artem Sitalo at the beginning of the second half brought a spark into Inhulets’ attack.

Subsequently, he went on to score nine minutes from full-time after profiting from a Yevhen Opanasenko assist. The 46-year-old was questioned on why he did not start Gopey.

“I already said that he only arrived three days ago,” he continued.

“Yes, Michael played the way a striker should. But Shakhtar, I will tell you, have changed two key players. Alan Patrick and Pedrinho left and the game went very differently.

“We understood that it is not for nothing that these players are the leaders of Shakhtar today. They would be super leaders on any team.

“Sudakov came out – with all due respect to him, a good, promising footballer, perhaps a future star, but this is not Alan Patrick or Pedrinho.

“So, it’s not just for the strength of our Michael, but to some extent just [Roberto] De Zerbi who gave his leaders a rest.”


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