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'Love this guy': Some Man City fans hail 'one of a kind' 24-year-old for last night's achievement

Nathaniel Kay March 25, 2021
Arsenal v Manchester City - Premier League
Photo by Manchester City FC/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

Manchester City supporters were over the moon to see Oleksandr Zinchenko captain the Ukraine national team last night.

The defender skippered his country to a stunning 1-1 draw in France in their opening World Cup qualifying group game.

Here’s how City fans reacted on Twitter to their left-back’s milestone against the world champions:

STEVEN GERRARD TO ASTON VILLA IS WRONG.

From Russia with love

It was the first time Zinchenko has worn the armband on what was his 36th cap.

It was a huge moment for a player who is only 24 years old and beginning to establish himself at club level.

City signed the defender from Russian club FC Ufa in 2016 following his outstanding performances at that summer’s European Championships.

At that point, Zinchenko was still a largely unknown teenage talent.

He was one of Pep Guardiola’s first signings, along with evergreen midfield dynamo Ilkay Gundogan. While Gundogan became part of the Etihad furniture, Zinchenko had to wait his turn before being added to the decor.

Photo by Tim Keeton – Pool/Getty Images

Not an instant success

The Ukrainian’s chances were limited when Benjamin Mendy arrived at the Etihad from Monaco for £52m (BBC Sport).

The Frenchman was brought in as City’s man left-back. However, it’s a move that has yet to bear fruit.

Injuries have stunted Mendy’s progress in Manchester, yet even that didn’t mean a green light for Zinchenko.

During their all-conquering Premier League campaign of 2017/18, Fabian Delph was often used as an auxiliary full-back instead of the more natural options on offer.

But with Delph sold to Everton and Mendy’s woes continuing, Zinchenko has finally broken through at City.

The left-back spot now looks his to lose, if that’s even his position any more.

The wizardry of Guardiola means Zinchenko can often be found deployed in central areas as an extra midfielder.

With a great passing range and composure in possession, this could turn out to be a permanent role for the new Ukraine skipper.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.