With John Terry and Rio Ferdinand no longer in the England reckoning and Kyle Walker the latest man attempting to solve the Three Lions right-back riddle, Roy Hodgson’s rearguard may well have much to fear from the Ukrainian attacking threat. Here we examine three of their main goalscoring dangers.
Andriy Yarmolenko – Dinamo Kiev
A player who was earning comparisons to Andriy Shevchenko whilst still in the Dinamo reserves, Yarmolenko was attracting overtures from Liverpool last season, with fees in the region of £19m bandied around.
At 6ft 2in he’s unusually big and strong for a winger yet still possesses superb close control and dribbling, making it all the more dangerous when he cuts in off the right flank with murder in mind.
He’s ice-cool in front of goal too – scoring 11 times in 33 internationals – and can be backed to register against the Three Lions at evens.
Yevhen Konoplyanka – Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
England fans may well remember the young man known in some quarters as ‘the Ukrainian Messi’ cutting inside onto his right foot to fire the Yellow-Blues into the lead at Wembley from 25 yards in the reverse fixture and he’s 11/1 to open the scoring once more.
Where Yarmolenko is big and strong, his fellow winger is smaller, with that uniquely hard-to-tackle quality of those possessed of a low centre-of-gravity.
Although Kyle Walker’s athleticism will be employed to shackle him, Konoplyanka’s intelligent and direct running will expose any potential doubts about the Tottenham man’s defensive positioning and understanding with Gary Cahill.
Yevhen Khacheridi – Dinamo Kiev
Ukraine’s centre-half wouldn’t be such a shrimp on the basketball court at 6ft 6in, so when it comes to set pieces and the still-forming telepathy between Cahill and Phil Jagielka he could prove a real fly in the ointment.
He struck twice against San Marino last time out as well, also providing a goal for a teammate and he can be backed at a juicy 22/1 to punish England in Kiev.