The Premier League has seen some of the best Ukrainian players come to England over the years, from Andry Shevchenko to recent stars like Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mudryk, and Mykolenko. Yegor Yarmolyuk has been making headlines for his performances in the u19 Euros and with Dnipro in Ukraine, which explains why Brentford chose to sign him. As he continues to get more minutes with Brentford, now is an interesting time to take a closer look at the 19-year-old and see how he develops.
Understanding Yegor’s evolution as a player: His initial days with Ukraine Youth sides and early steps in Brentford
Vid 1: Yegor’s highlights against Poland ( via kind courtesy : https://www.youtube.com/@amorior3019)
Yegor’s game as a natural 8 that loves driving the ball was evident from his initial days,and Vid 1 provides a great evidence for the same. Collecting the ball from deep, Yegor’s game was largely based on progressing past players to the point where it can be said it hindered his ability to make successful moves in the final 3rd.
With his slim frame and long legs, he is usually able to use it to his advantage to produce rapid bursts to pass through players, with being able to combine in wide areas and drive inwards that in certain system can be a devastating tool to isolate wingers or wingbacks (a significant trait that could possibly be why Brentford felt his profile suited their system using a pair of wingbacks and 3 midfielders).
Pic 1: Yegor’s season with Brentford so far
But from his days with Ukraine or Dnipro, Yegor Yarmolyuk’s game has seen significant change – having him focus more as the box to box option covering larger areas of ground as we see in Pic 1. With the sheer physical demands of Premier League and the changing tactical landscape from Dnipro to Thomas Frank‘s Brentford, it will be very interesting to see how Yegor will gradually adapt or change his game. While his ability to drive the ball is certainly is at a level where he can make impact against defenses at PL, the larger fine tuning of his decision making that we saw in Vid 1 and the off ball intelligence will need to improve and it is what will decide his future.
How can Yegor Yarmolyuk’s skillsets be better utilized Tactically at Brentford
Vid 2: Yegor (No. 14)’s days with Dnipro
Like we pointed out in pic 1 that Yegor’s largely been used in roles on the left flank, certainly the question would arise if he’s better suited on the right sided 8 role where he’s fundamentally able to use his angles in passing better with his dominant foot, and as we see in Vid 2, his ability to make timed cutbacks can be the kind of service strikers deserve.
Perhaps the best way to summarize it would be despite having quick bursts of pace, Yegor’s not suited to play wide and even if he’s technically great, playing as a lone or part of a double pivot wont suit his inherent nature of driving the ball forward. In an ideal team that could play 3 midfielders or in a team that could invert one of it’s fullbacks, Yegor could be a brilliant options as a pockets (halfspace/inside spaces) player. To put in a comparative terms, a role that has much features of what Kevin De Bruyne played in City in recent years.
Think of him in a side that could possibly play a buildup with 3-2 or 4-2 or a 4-1, that has him drop to collect and progress (as opposed to drop and distribute) because Yegor’s best strength is his ball carrying and final balls than distributing or recirculation passes.
Conclusions: Can Yegor Yarmolyuk be part of a promising Ukraine generation?
Pic 2: Yegor part of upcoming U21 team for Ukraine
The Ukranian National team is perhaps brimming with a lot of Premier League players, with players from PL among it’s ranks the highest in the last 20 or so years. Yegor’s next immediate and ideal objective would be to get called up to the Senior national team and it shouldn’t be far as he’s now almost a crucial member of the U21 Side and will soon be of age to make his NT Debut. But the foremost thing to keep in mind would also be to continue knocking the doors in Brentford’s midfield, and perhaps as season goes establish as an important option for the team.