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Ukraine-Russia crisis

Yarmolenko returns to West Ham training but Moyes won't rush 'really, really upset' Ukraine winger back into action

16:46 GMT+3 01/03/2022
Andriy Yarmolenko London Stadium West Ham vs Wolves 2021-22
The Hammers have welcomed an experienced figure back into their fold after granting him a period of compassionate leave

Andriy Yarmolenko has returned to training at West Ham, but David Moyes says a Ukrainian winger that remains “really, really upset” will not be rushed back into action.

A 32-year-old Saint Petersburg-born forward with 106 international caps to his name was granted a few days of compassionate leave by the Hammers as he struggled to come to terms with Russia’s invasion of his homeland.

He played no part in a 1-0 Premier League win over Wolves at the weekend, but could come into contention for an FA Cup fifth-round outing against Southampton on Wednesday if he feels up to making an appearance.

What has been said?

West Ham boss Moyes has told reporters when offering an update on Yarmolenko: “Obviously, he's really, really upset with the whole situation, which many people are, especially people from Ukraine, so we won't rush him.

“I've asked him to come in today and see how he feels. If he feels fine and up to it, he'll travel with the team. If he doesn’t, we'll give him some more days off.

“It's a daily ongoing thing. Things can change very quickly, but we'll give him the chance to go with his own feelings.

“He's got lots of family members and friends in Ukraine, and he's worried for everybody. He realises the difficulty that's going on and he's a long way away and can't do a lot about it. He's upset, the boy, and quite rightly so.

“It's a really difficult situation for us as well, because we'd like to offer him more help or more support if we can.

“I think it’s the same with the world. I think the world's trying to give Ukraine as much support as they can. All we can hope is that the sanctions, somewhere along the line, start to take their toll on Russia, because none of us want to go to war with any country.

“Us personally, with Yarmolenko, we’re trying to deal with him. We’re speaking to him most days.

“I have to say the players at the club were great with him yesterday. They were trying to get him back in and integrate him, and make sure he felt really welcome and that we were thinking about him and his family. We just have to try and support him the best we can.

“Football is such a powerful tool all around the world. Every country and every continent watches the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, and because of that I think it's really important that we take action and make sure they [Russian teams] are isolated completely. I'm not a politician but that's how I feel about the football side.”

The bigger picture

UEFA and FIFA have started to take decisive action against Russia as political tension boils over in Eastern Europe.

Saint Petersburg has been stripped of Champions League final hosting duties, as that fixture is handed to Stade de France in Paris, while Russian national and domestic teams have been suspended from continental and global competition until further notice.

West Ham are doing all they can to support Yarmolenko through a testing time for all concerned, but are also aware of the need to avoid any distractions as they look to chase down FA Cup glory in 2022 and a potential top-four finish in the Premier League.

Further reading