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Ukrainian Sunderland youngster lifts the lid on what life is like on Wearside

Sunderland’s young Ukrainian forward Timur Tutierov has given an in-depth interview on what life is like for him on Wearside - including his relationship with Nazariy Rusyn.

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sunderland’s Ukrainian striker Nazariy Rusyn got off the mark for the club during the win over Preston North End yesterday but the 25-year-old is not the only Ukrainian at the club.

Timur Tutierov and Ivan Struk appear are also on the books, playing for the academy, and Tutierov was interviewed by Sport.ua, where he discussed his time at the club, his relationship with Rusyn and more.

- In the summer and autumn, you missed a lot due to injury. How do you feel now?

Everything is fine now. This is the most important thing. The recovery process lasted a month and a half. It’s sad that I missed so much, because I was in good shape in the pre-season.

- You have been in Sunderland since April 2023. Have you adapted during this time?

It was hard at first. Even with the language. Not because I didn’t know it, but because of the accent. I had to get used to everything new. English football is fundamentally different from ours. It took some time to adapt. Now there are no problems.

- What is your current status with the club?

I am a U-21 player. I am involved in training with the first team. I aspire to reach this level.

- Sunderland changed their coach not so long ago. Did it affect you in any way?

I don’t know yet. I haven’t had a chance to work with Michael Beale yet. After the winter break, we’ll see what changes.

- You moved to England from Kolos. Did you have any doubts, because these are very big changes?

I was worried, but my childhood dream of playing in England outweighed any doubts. I knew the language well. I was more worried about the new team. The British and Ukrainians have different mentality and culture. But in practice, it wasn’t all that scary.

- How were you received in the team?

It’s very good. The guys are all friendly. They helped me a lot with adaptation.

- How do you like the city of Sunderland?

Sunderland is a small, coastal, comfortable city. I am a homebody. I don’t go out much. So I can’t talk about any specifics.

- Do they ask you in the club about the war in Ukraine?

Of course, there is interest. Everyone is worried. I hope that this will end as soon as possible. The British sympathise with Ukraine.

- What do you say about the youth championship of England?

Here, the result is as important as in Ukraine. We play football to win. But youth development is a priority. That’s why young players like Chris Rigg and Tommy Watson are already fully involved with the first team.

- What is the difference between the training of players in Ukraine and England?

It no longer depends on where you are, but on who your coach is. Each coach has his or her own approach to the training process and has his or her own peculiarities.

In general, it’s different. The development of individual skills is greater than in Ukraine. At home, there is more tactical training. Here, there is more focus on the development of individual qualities.

- Sunderland has another Ukrainian, Nazariy Rusyn. How did your relationship develop?

In Ukraine, we knew each other only in absentia. Now I have a very good relationship with Nazik. I treat him like an older brother. He gives me advice, shares his experience, and it’s a pleasure to be with him.

Timur Tutierov and Nazariy Rusyn

- You made your debut for the youth national team of Ukraine during the qualification for Euro U-19. What are your impressions of the youth team?

It was one of my childhood dreams to represent my country. I was very glad that the coach had trust and understanding with the boys. I am very pleased with the performance in Malta. We came out on top. I managed to show my level and scored a goal. So I have only good impressions.

- In Malta, you played as a winger, although you were a forward in “Colossus”. What is your native position?

Throughout my career, it has changed - forward, on the left, under the striker. I like all positions, I just want to play. I feel comfortable in each of them.

- What position do you play in Sunderland?

As a forward. But sometimes they also play me on the wing.

- What were your impressions when you scored a goal in the first match for the national team against Malta?

I felt a sense of relief. What I had dreamed of for a long time had come true. The most important thing is that we won. Football is a team sport. Therefore, individual achievements are not as important as the overall result.

- Who did you look up to as a child?

There was no one footballer I sympathised with. My own development in football changed my favourite. At first, it was Lionel Messi and Josep Guardiola in the days of Barcelona. I watched all the Catalans’ matches with my father. When Pep moved to Bayern Munich, I started rooting for the Munich team because I really liked Pep. Then my sympathy, along with Guardiola, moved towards Manchester City. The Spanish coach continues to be my favourite.

Oddly enough, after Messi, I admired Cristiano Ronaldo. I understand that such a change in sympathies may look contradictory. Then I had sympathy for Kevin De Bruyne.

Now my favourite player is the Brazilian Ronaldo. Even though I can only see his matches on film. We play the same position. I like the Brazilian’s speed, technique, and goal-scoring flair. No wonder he was called the Phenomenon.

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