Andriy Yarmolenko has come out admitting that he still hasn’t reached full fitness.
Speaking to West Ham’s official website after helping Ukraine to victory over Lithuania, he said: “I tried, I worked hard. So far, I am just getting into shape and I understand that I am not yet in optimal condition because I have missed a lot of time, due to a serious injury.”
With the Ukrainian having been out for 252 days through injury, as per Transfermarkt, it was always pretty likely it would take a while to get rid of those last bits of rust.
However, while his lack of full fitness to date can be seen as a worry – especially with Michail Antonio currently unavailable – it can also be viewed upon as a positive sign for West Ham.
His hour in the Lithuania match follows 71 minutes against Norwich City, in which the 29-year-old showed the impact he can have for the Hammers, scoring the goal which extended the lead to two.
Aside from the goal, he hit the woodwork, completed the one dribble he attempted and maintained a pass success rate of 93%, as well as helping out defensively with one tackle, as per WhoScored.
If he is able to impact a game in this way at the moment, then it is almost certain that he will be able to increase his contributions once he has reached full fitness.
We have been given a hint of that before, when he put two past Everton at Goodison Park for Manuel Pellegrini’s first win as the Hammers manager, as showed on West Ham’s YouTube channel.
This means supporters may have to show patience with him while he gets up to full speed, but it should be worth the wait when he is.