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Scouting Report: QB JT Daniels 6’2″ 205 (Georgia)
Spring 2021 Report Film Exposure: (2020) Missouri, Mississippi State and Cincinnati
Lean framed quarterback who looks polished in the pocket, but he shows average arm strength, mobility, accuracy, and placement. USC transfer (May 2020). There is fear in his eyes and he moves around like he is scared in the pocket. Suffered knee injury opening day in 2019 for USC (torn ACL and meniscus in his right leg – his plant leg). It looks like that injury is playing on him heavily. He played tentatively on it in 2020. This will be something during the 2021 season to keep a close eye on to see if he bounces back. Relies on his mechanics to be successful. Daniels is at his best when he has the time to set up shop and he struggles with accuracy when he does not have the time. He operates almost exclusively out of shotgun formation. He is most effective in the short-range with screens when he makes quick decisions with the ball. Inconsistent accuracy intermediate and deep.
Daniels tends to clap his hands for the ball (snap). Shows excellent ball-handling skills (play-action-fake). Good pump fake. Able to roll out right and throw short on the move. Showed he can go through his progressions in the pocket and look one way and then snap his head back in another direction and throw. Lacks poise. Looks jittery in the pocket. His movements are sudden and he did not look comfortable in the pocket. Sometimes hurries his throws sometimes he holds the ball for too long and gets crushed. Tends not to throw the ball away to avoid sacks. Inconsistent at evading the pass rush. Daniels is very aware of the pass rush – he is too aware of it. Sometimes pats the ball prior to delivery, which further indicates to defensive backs where he is going with the ball prior to the throw.
He shows very average-looking arm strength that shows up in his throws to the intermediate and deep ranges of the field. Daniels had to push off his right back foot hard to drive the ball out there. I did not see him put any big league zip on the ball in these route levels (during these three games). Tends to lob it in there and tries to rely more on touch, but he was inconsistent at doing that in terms of ball placement. His deep passing attempts were all over the place in terms of accuracy and placement. Once in a while, he would throw a beauty, but he also can throw a little behind his receivers. He also put too much air under his deep passes at times. The arch did not look right. Some passes looked more like rocks falling from the sky that dropped straight down because he had to put too much air under his passes to compensate.
Daniels has run the ball for a (negative) -226 yards during his college career.
Daniels did show some passion after throwing a touchdown, but he is a real project without much upside when it comes to being an NFL prospect. Despite his high pre-season current ranking, I am just not seeing it. The wildcard is the right plant leg (if he regains his confidence in it) in 2021. That remains to be seen, but currently, I am just not feeling it with this prospect. He tends to look too “herky-jerky” and hurried in the pocket in anticipation or the rush or when actually dealing with the rush. Daniels currently lacks the poise, confidence, arm strength and accuracy to be considered for the NFL draft.
During the 2018 season at USC (per espn.com) he was 216 comp/363 att/59.5% comp/2,672 yards, 7.4 avg with 14 TD/10 INT. Daniels was injured in 2019 and had minor stats. In 2020 for Georgia he was 80 comp/119 att, 67.2% comp/1,231 yards, 10.3 avg. The high TD/INT ratio is a red flag in 2018.
Where would I draft JT Daniels?
Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: I personally would not have him on my board prior to this season based on what I saw on film. He is not what I would be looking for as a starter or a backup and I am not seeing NFL potential. A long-range starter or a reliable backup must possess better quarterbacking qualities than what Daniels is showing currently on film. I am giving him a UFA (undraftable free agent) league grade at this point in my late Spring report.
Probability of being a bust: High
If I were a GM, this is the question I need to be answered in my mind about JT Daniels? I would ask him, “Walk me through why you transferred and what that experience was like for you?”
My top 10 concerns about Daniels:
- He looks scared in his eyes and he and plays scared.
- Plays hurried when he is under pressure and when he is not.
- Plays almost exclusively in the shotgun formation.
- Lack of experience with verbal cadence.
- Tendency to sometimes pat the ball pre-delivery.
- His lack of mobility/stats running the football (negative yardage running).
- Inaccuracy when he can not set his feet intermediate and deep (especially when he does not set his feet to throw).
- Average arm strength (really has to push it out there, sometimes looks like receivers are waiting on his passes and sometimes puts too much air under deep passes).
- Inconsistent placement and accuracy intermediate and deep.
- Tendency to take sacks instead of throwing the ball away to avoid yardage losses.
How NFL defenses will beat him: Missouri and Cincinnati showed the way – heavy pressure and exotic blitzes. Constantly send defenders from different pressure points and keep him guessing. Be extremely aggressive and physical. Get in his face and intimidate him. Make him as uncomfortable as possible. Get into his head. Clamp down in pass coverage on underneath screens and take that part of his game away. Dare him to beat your defense intermediate and deep. Play tight man coverage.
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK.
The Nashville Predators‘ team at The Hockey Writers have done a magnificent job covering the team this season, documenting the slow start and the surge that has them in a playoff spot. At the trade deadline, we thought they should be sellers with a look towards the future. Then a March upswing put them back in the playoff picture. General manager David Poile decided to stand pat and stick with the players he has despite a few prime trade targets who didn’t get moved. But is it best to bring them back for another run in Nashville?
Granlund, acquired at the trade deadline in 2019, was the perfect trade chip (or one of the main ones) heading into the deadline. He is a top-6 forward and would have been a great fit on a contender’s third line. He has 12 goals and 11 assists in 45 games, which, in a typical 82-game season, would translate to 22 goals and 20 assists. He’s also successful at faceoffs. He will be hitting 30 next year, so the Predators will have to decide if they want to keep him going forward or continue to focus on their young players.
Outlook: The advantage to keeping Granlund is that he is another veteran and a great mentor to the young players. He gives the team a decent offensive threat, has been effective in the faceoff circle, and he has emerged as a genuine leader. He will be a good addition to the core of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, and more.
On the other hand, keeping him could hinder the development of younger players like Eeli Tolvanen, who would likely benefit from more ice time without Granlund on the team. If the Predators want to ensure their youth gains experience, letting Granlund go is the best option.
Haula seemed to be a solid rental heading into the deadline, especially according to my Vegas colleagues. He hasn’t been much of an addition this season, nor has he been a major detriment to the Predators, just right in the middle. With the injuries to the team, it would have been nice to see more productivity from him. He only has seven goals and 11 assists in 47 games. He is another veteran in his 30s who should move on in favor of younger players.
Outlook: The real pro of keeping Haula would be if he can recapture his Vegas mojo from a few seasons ago (29 goals, 26 assists). Otherwise, letting him walk would be the best move to ensure the team has the right mixture of youth and veterans. Tolvanen, Tanner Jeannot, Rem Pitlick, Yakov Trenin, and others played well in spot duty, so these players need more opportunities in the future, which makes Haula expendable.
Gudbranson was acquired at the trade deadline to shore up the defense in the only move the Predators made, and the $4 million contract they inherited will expire at the end of the season, which should help the team out in the free agency. After Poile made almost no moves at the deadline, hopefully, he will use the offseason and the additional cap space to re-sign some players and acquire others.
Outlook: I don’t see Gudbranson staying with the team long-term, especially with David Farrance signed and the emergence of Jeremy Davies and Alexandre Carrier. Should the Predators extend Mattias Ekholm, Gudbranson will become that much more expendable.
The Predators legend is a free agent at the end of the season, and it’ll be up to him to stay with the team or not. Rinne could retire a Predator or sign with a contending team that has a better shot at the Stanley Cup. Whatever he decides, it won’t diminish the legacy of the best goaltender in franchise history.
Outlook: I don’t see Rinne re-upping with the team unless it’s to retire as a Predator. Juuse Saros has established himself as the team’s starter, and Yaroslav Askarov will be coming around in the next year or two. Even if Rinne does come back, he will be 39 in November and will likely be limited to spot duty.
Richardson was playing very well for Nashville until he got injured. He was on IR from March 11 to May 2. However, he was great on the fourth line, penalty kill, and most importantly, on faceoffs. As great as he has been this season, he is also 36 years old and another veteran who might get in the way of the team’s youth development.
Outlook: Although he’s the type of player head coach John Hynes loves, Richardson will likely move on, but also because he is a Hynes guy, he may return on a one-year deal unless he decides to hang up his skates.
Luca Sbisa was claimed off waivers in January to add veteran depth to the defense. However, he was injured in the opening game on January 14 with an upper-body injury and has not been back since and there have been no signs of a return.
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Outlook: Sbisa expected to move on unless they give him another shot at the same price.
Of the guys mentioned above, the one with the best chance of returning is Granlund, who really elevated his game this season amidst all the injuries that happened to the team. Not only did he make plays and score goals, but he did also help the young guys like Tolvanen and Jeannot on the line. The Predators are focused on extending a couple of guys viewed as their core: Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, and Forsberg. Besides Granlund and maybe Richardson, I see some movement from the rest of the guys to different addresses.
Questions? Comments? Concerns. Leave below, or follow on Twitter at @ddunhamjr!
Nashville Predators writer. Graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and Northeastern University. Been into hockey since NHL 94 and not knowing what I was doing to having a pretty good idea of how to play. Based in Nashville since 2015. Sharks fan.
The home side continued their losing streak with another 3-1 loss away to FC Akhmat. Vladimir Ilyin, Artem Polyarus and Evgeni Kharin all got on the scoresheet to help the hosts pick up all three points.
Zenit were held to a goalless draw away to FC Ufa in a game that saw Sardar Azmoun miss a penalty on the stroke of halftime.
This is the most inconsequential game on the final day of the Russian Premier League campaign. The hosts have already confirmed their spot at the bottom of the table, while Zenit St. Petersburg were crowned league champions for the eighth time a fortnight ago.
Tambov vs Zenit Head-to-Head
Zenit have a 100% record in four games played against Tambov, having won all matches against the Wolves.
Their most recent meeting came in August 2020, on matchday four of the current campaign. An emphatic performance from the defending champions saw them register a 4-1 rout on home turf.
Zenit have been the form team in the league and are currently on an eight-game unbeaten run. By contrast, Tambov have been the whooping boys of the league and are winless since October last year, while they have also lost their last 12 league games consecutively.
Tambov form guide: L-L-L-L-L
Zenit form guide: D-W-W-D-W
Tambov vs Zenit Team News
The hosts do not have any injury concerns. However, midfielder Vladimir Kabakhidze is suspended for accumulating yellow cards.
Suspension: Vladimir Kabakhidze
Three players are unavailable for the trip to Tambov due to injuries. Andrey Mostovoy (knock), Wendel (knock) and Dejan Lovren (muscle injury) are all unavailable for selection.
Furthermore, forward Sebastian Driussi pulled out of the squad for personal reasons but there are no suspension concerns for Zenit.
Injuries: Andrey Mostovoy, Dejan Lovren, Wendel
Unavailable: Sebastian Driussi
Tambov vs Zenit Predicted XI
Tambov Predicted XI (3-5-2): Rodion Syamuk (GK); Denis Kaykov, Alexander Denisov, Ilya Martynov; Azer Aliev, Yuri Bavin, Nikita Drozdov, Catalin Carp, Farkhod Vasiev; Kirill Klimov, Artem Arhipov,
Zenit Predicted XI (3-4-3): Mikhaeil Kerzhakov (GK); Douglas Santos, Dmitri Chistyakov, Vyacheseslav Karaevaev; Danil Krugovoy, Wilmar Barrios, Magomed Odzoev, Aleksei Sutormin; Malcom, Sardar Azmoun, Aleksandr Yerokhin
Tambov vs Zenit Prediction
Tambov have been dire throughout the season and their players seem to just be completing the motions at this stage.
Barring a huge upset, there will only be one winner in this tie. We are predicting a comfortable victory for the visitors.
Prediction: Tambov 0-4 Zenit
With another Detroit Red Wings season in the books, we begin to look ahead to the 2021-22 season.
The Detroit Red Wings finished another below-average season leaving general manager Steve Yzerman with plenty to question moving forward. Will head coach Jeff Blashill return behind the bench next season?
Will the organization finally see a wholesale youth movement with Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond, Joe Veleno, Givani Smith, Dennis Cholowski, and Gustav Lindstrom all become regulars in the Red Wings’ lineup?
The Red Wings finished the 2021 season with an overall record of 19-27-10, earning 47 points which ranked seventh in the Central Division.
It’s a group that finished with 125 total goals scored, which ranks 30th out of 31, plus allowed 168 goals that ranked 22nd in the league. The year 2021 also wasn’t kind to Detroit’s special teams. The Red Wings was only able to produce a power-play unit that converted a mere 10.81% of the time, yet the league average held firm at 20%. The Red Wings penalty-killing unit proved to be more productive than the PP group compared to the league average. Detroit successfully killed off 78% of their short-handed opportunities; the league average sits just shy of 80%.
As a team, the Red Wings produced a Corsi For Percentage (CF%) of 45.3% and a shooting percentage of 7%. The Red Wings struggled to finish despite having a plethora of high-level scoring chances throughout the season.
According to Hockey Reference, the Red Wings earned a whopping 52.9% high-danger scoring chances yet scored on just 13.8% of those chances. The Red Wings need to find a way to finish at a more consistent level moving forward. Should that improve next season by replacing the likes of Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula with Raymond and Veleno? I expect so.
Four current unrestricted free agents the Detroit Red Wings should bring back in 2021.
I expect the honeymoon is finally over between Yzerman and Filppula. Yzerman brought Filppula to Tampa Bay during his time as the Lightning’s GM and once again signed the free agent to join the Red Wings. I don’t anticipate Filppula will return to the team for the 2021-22 season.
The Detroit Red Wings won’t likely bring back Darren Helm and Alex Biega. Unfortunately, Frans Nielsen, Danny DeKeyser, and Richard Panik will remain under contract beyond this offseason.
That leaves Yzerman with a few decisions to make moving forward.
The Detroit Red Wings should bring back Bobby Ryan.
The Detroit Red Wings should bring veteran winger Bobby Ryan back for the 2021-22 seasons. Ryan battled injuries for the better part of the year but proved to be worth every penny of his one-year deal that paid him just $1 million.
Ryan appeared in 33 games for the Red Wings this past season, scoring seven goals and totaling 14 points.
The 34-year old recently advocated that he’d love to return to the organization next season. Ryan is a player that can still play on an NHL third line plus on the power-play along with helping mentor the influx of youthful Red Wings expected to debut for the organization next season.
Another one-year deal worth $1-million will definitely be on the table moving forward.
On May, 8, FC UFA faces Zenit Saint Petersburg at Stadion Neftyanik of the Premier League in Russia. Follow the FC UFA vs Zenit Saint Petersburg live score and results starting at 11:00, here on Sambafoot.
FC UFA is currently #13 in the Premier League 2020 with 25 points in 30 games, and 6 wins.
Zenit Saint Petersburg currently sits at #1 in the Premier League, winning 19 games. The team from Russia has secured 65 points in 30 games of the 2020 season.
Looking for the best FC UFA vs Zenit Saint Petersburg odds on 08/05/2021? Check them out on Sambafoot!
PFC Sochi take on FC Rotor Volgograd on matchday 29 of the ongoing Russian Premier Liga season on Friday, May 7. The Russian Domestic league clash will be played at the Fisht Olympic Stadium with the kickoff scheduled for 19: 00 PM (10:30 PM IST). Here’s a look at the SO vs VOL Dream11 team, top picks, alongside other details of this clash.
SO vs VOL Match Preview
PFC Sochi have managed to get back on the right track after suffering losses against Rubin and Zenit by registering two consecutive wins over CSKA Moscow, and FC Ufa The hosts went on to make it three wins in a row as their last outing also ended in a 1-3 victory over FC Kransdor. They currently find themselves slotted sixth on the Premier Liga table with 14 wins, seven draws, and the same number of losses against their name. With 49 points from 28 games, PFC Sochi are on par at points with 4th placed Rubin and will see this match as an opportunity to break into the top four of the Premier Liga with a win on Friday.
FC Rotor Volgograd on the other hand finds themselves fighting to stay in the Premier Liga as the visitors will start the game being the 14th ranked team on the league table. They have recorded just five wins while playing out six draws and losing 17 games this season accumulating 21 points so far. Currently, on par with the relegation-threatened FC Ufa, the visitors are in the relegation qualification zone due to a superior goal difference record. Heading into the game after registering a narrow1-0 win over FK Akhmat, FC Rotor Volgograd will be aiming to secure a spot in the league with a win against PFC Sochi.
SO vs VOL Dream11 Top Picks
Captain- A. Yusupov or K. Mullin
Vice-Captain- A. Zablotny or Z. Davitashvilli
SO vs VOL Dream11 Team
Goalkeeper – S. Dzhanayev
Defenders – O. Kozhemyakin, I. Miladinovic, D. Stepanov, I’m Novoseltasev
Midfielders – I. Zhigulev, C. Noboa, Z. Davitashvilli
Strikers – A. Zablotny, K. Mullin, A. Yusupov
SO vs VOL Dream11 Prediction
Despite a number of injuries to key players in the ranks PFC Sochi have continued to maintain some positive momentum in the tournament. The hosts are expected to edge past FC Rotor Volgograd on Friday as we predict a narrow win for PFC Sochi at the end of 90 minutes.
Prediction- PFC Sochi 2-0 FC Rotor Volgograd
Note: The above SO vs VOL Dream11 prediction, SO vs VOL Dream11 Match Prediction, and top picks are based on our own analysis. The SO vs VOL Dream11 Team and SO vs VOL Dream11 Top Picks does not guarantee a positive result.
As the Regular Season comes to a close, it appears the Minnesota Wild made the best goalie addition during the offseason.
When free agency opened up on October 9th, 2020, there were several quality goaltenders available on the market. Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News listed five goaltenders in their top thirty free agents, which didn’t include Matt Murray (who would be traded as an RFA), Thomas Greiss, and/or Mike Smith. Listed in the top thirty were Jacob Markstrom (#7), Braden Holtby (#12), Corey Crawford (#17), Anton Khudobin (#22), and Cam Talbot (#25).
Once Free Agency opened, Goalies were picked up rapidly. Matt Murray signed in Ottawa for $25M over four years. Khudobin re-signed in Dallas for $10M over three years. Markstrom cashed in with Calgary, signing a contract for $36M over six years. Holtby filled in the vacancy Markstrom left in Vancouver, signing a two-year, $8.6M contract. Bill Guerin pounced on Cam Talbot, signing him to a contract with the Minnesota Wild for $11M over three years.
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This was, optically, a strange look. Just four days earlier, Devan Dubnyk was traded to the San Jose Sharks, and midway through the regular season, Alex Stalock had seized control of the net after Dubnyk’s absence from the lineup and poor play left it up for grabs. He wasn’t the most technically sound goalie, and the advanced stats show he often let in goals the average tender would have, but he was performing better than Dubnyk.
Kaapo Kahkonen also got five games in the NHL during Dubnyk’s absence, going 3-1-1, and on return to the AHL, in 34 Games Played, would put up a record of 25-6-3 and a .927 save % on his way to winning the AHL Goaltender of the year. Many thought he could soon be ready for NHL ice and with the looming Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft after the 2021 Season, some feared they could lose him to expansion.
So, it appeared Cam Talbot would be the starter, Alex Stalock would back him up, and Kahkonen would be the 3rd goalie, either in the AHL or on the Taxi Squad.
But, as reported by the Exclusive written by Michael Russo and The Athletic, Alex Stalock would be diagnosed with myocarditis in November. After a positive test for COVID-19, the process to return to hockey activity included a Cardiac Screening. Stalock’s screening showed abnormalities and the doctor’s determined he had myocarditis, which included no intensive activities for six weeks.
With Stalock out for an extended period of time, the Tandem now was Talbot-Kahkonen. So already the Talbot signing was a good move. He has serious NHL experience and ensured that the Minnesota Wild would have a reliable body in the net. Throwing Kahkonen in the net immediately could be problematic, but it’s difficult to consistently rely on the 32-year-old Andrew Hammond, or any of the youngsters in the pipeline, like 19-year-old Hunter Jones or 22-year-old Dérek Baribeau.
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Stalock would ultimately be lost to the Edmonton Oilers via waiver claim, cementing that Talbot-Kahkonen would be the goalie duo. Even still, it looked like Al would have been on the outside looking in of the three goalies. Kaapo performed rather well during a brief Talbot injury and placement on the COVID-19 List, but has shown his young age a bit and regressed a little recently.
Talbot took a bit of time to get in a groove this season because of the aforementioned injury, placement on the COVID-19 List, and the Wild pause because of an outbreak, but overall, has been fantastic this season. His basic stats are really impressive: 17-7-4 record, two shutouts, a 2.48 Goals Against Average, and his save percentage is .920.
Talbot’s advanced stats only paint a prettier picture. According to TopDownHockey, Cam Talbot’s Goals Saved Above Expected is 9th best in the NHL with a mark of 7.12, meaning he has been on his game, making fantastic saves, keeping the Wild in games, even bailing them out on defensive breakdowns. Talbot’s GSAx is higher than any of the goaltenders that signed with a new team last season, and only behind Mike Smith (9.13, what a rebound year for 39-year-old) and Robin Lehner (7.94) for those who signed extensions.
The success of the Minnesota Wild can simply be brought down to a simple point. The improvement in net of Cam Talbot-Kaapo Kahkonen over Devan Dubnyk-Alex Stalock has seen the Minnesota Wild allow fewer Goals per Game on average than what was previously seen.
While JFresh is clearly tongue in cheek here, he isn’t wrong. The Wild are only marginally scoring more goals per game with some of the additions, but they are allowing fewer goals per game with the change in net. That said, the arrival of Kirill Kaprizov, the seeming change in culture where responsibility on the ice is mostly earned and not awarded, and the improved play in goal has made this team more exciting.
I defended Dubnyk for a long time, but even still it seems he isn’t the same goaltender he once was three or four years ago. It was time for a change in Starting Goaltender, and the Minnesota Wild did their homework and found a dynamite goalie in Cam Talbot. So much so that it has made the Seattle Expansion Draft decisions a bit more interesting (but that’s a topic for another day). Cam Talbot’s performance in net has helped propel the Minnesota Wild to overachieve the expectations many of us had for them this season. Can he keep it going into the playoffs?
Disagree with our opinion that the Minnesota Wild and Bill Guerin won the 2020 Goalie Sweepstakes? Who did win then? How have they done better? What are your thoughts on the Wild potentially protecting Talbot in the Expansion Draft? Leave a comment down below or tweet at us @FSGonePuckWild
It was a surprise when Florida receiver Trevon Grimes went unselected during the 2021 NFL draft. A former five-star recruit who played two seasons at Florida after transferring from Ohio State, Grimes elected not to use his extra season of eligibility, hoping to be a mid-round pick in the draft.
But now, the UF standout has landed on a roster, signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. With the Eagles, he will be reunited with his former offensive coordinator, Brian Johnson, who is Philly’s quarterback coach.
Grimes’ production was limited as a senior despite Florida’s success in the passing game. The play of Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts overshadowed him. Still, he finished the year with 589 yards and nine touchdowns.
Philadelphia could use help at the receiver spot despite using a first-round pick on Alabama‘s DeVonta Smith. Grimes is a big-bodied receiver with good ball skills, and the Eagles could use someone like him.
Though making the roster as an undrafted guy is an uphill battle, Grimes seems to have a pretty good chance.
Born in Radomyshl, where other kids wouldn’t pass to him at the local football academy as a youngster, he ended up spending six years at Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine’s biggest club.
Zinchenko captained Shakhat’s Under 19 side and things were progressing well. But because of war in the region, he and his family were forced to leave the country in 2014.
It meant Zinchenko was without a club for five months and following a contract dispute and a period where he was training in the streets of Moscow by himself, he ended up signing for Russian side FC Ufa and began his professional career there.
Zinchenko played 33 times for Ufa before City snapped him up for £1.7 million in 2016, just a day after Pep Guardiola was unveiled as manager.
Loaned out to PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands for a season, he looked destined to be a player City would sell for a bit of profit without him ever playing a competitive game.
But nearly four years after making his debut as a makeshift left-back, Zinchenko is closing in on his 100th appearance for Guardiola’s side.
17: Fled the war in Ukraine
18: Finally allowed to play professionally after a contract dispute
19: Signed by Manchester City for £1.7M and loaned to PSV
21: Won the PL
22: Won the domestic treble
24: A crucial part of the 2020/21 City team
The life of Oleks Zinchenko pic.twitter.com/UFsbRonJHb
– Baldiola (@TeacherOfBall) April 29, 2021
Making the most of his opportunities and even deciding to fight for his place when City were happy to allow him to join Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Ukraine international has made incredible strides.
He won his first Premier League title at 21, infamously knocking the trophy over in celebrations, and he made 29 appearances when City won the domestic treble in 2018/19.
Handed the No.11 shirt, Zinchenko signed a new deal with City in June 2019 but it’s this season where he’s really grown in importance.
A key part of City’s build up and way of playing out from the back, his introduction at 1-0 down against PSG in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final completely turned the game on its head.
On for the booked Joao Cancelo, he helped City dominate the ball in the second half and supplied the assist for Kevin De Bruyne’s leveller.
If City go on to win a treble this term, Zinchenko has more than played his part. Guardiola loves his attitude and in 2019, said that everyone else could learn from him.
“The day after the games is always difficult for the guys who didn’t play [in their] training session and most of the players sometimes want to show me how disappointed they are,” Guardiola said.
“Then maybe before the game they are nice again in front of the manager and their team-mates.
“This guy was the complete opposite. That is the reason he always plays good. He showed me again the mood, the behaviour, being positive, smiling and alert. When this happens, you will always play good.
“That’s why I’m delighted. He deserves all my respect and I think he’s going to make a long career. I don’t know if that will be here, hopefully, or another place, but with this behaviour he will be happy doing his job.
“I can only say thank you. More than the way he plays, it’s his approach.”
Zinchenko put it perfectly in an interview with The Telegraph. Asked what it takes to make a footballer, he replied: “1% talent, 99% hard work.”
His rise is concrete proof that hard work always beats talent.