This season, the Russian Premier League debuted 34 young players. With the exception of one – all players with a Russian passport. Only 10 debutants played 10 or more matches in the Russian championship. Let’s talk about the most notable of them today.
Egash Kasintura, forward, Ufa
Kasintura is the oldest debutant of this season. The 24-year-old midfielder moved to Ufa from futsal and immediately became a base player. The Angolan played 25 matches in the RPL, made two assists and was marked off in the game with Dynamo for a foul of last hope. Before switching to professional football, Egash played for the New Generation mini-football club. In the summer, Ufa signed a three-year contract with Kasintura. Last year, the player received a bachelor’s degree.
Viktor Melekhin, defender, Rostov
The graduate of Podolsk football has established itself at the base this season. Melekhin spent the first matches of the championship in reserve, and made his debut in the game of the fifth round with Nizhny Novgorod. The 18-year-old defender entered the field twice more and then landed in the reserve. At the end of November, everything changed: Melekhin played with Akhmat and has been constantly at the start since then. On account of his 16 matches in the championship of Russia.
Photo: Artyom Gusev, “Championship”
The defender looks great in the spring, although he still has a hard time with some forwards. “Sobolev is an unpleasant striker: tall, powerful,” Melekhin said. “Those are always hard to fight. He puts his elbows out, always pushes away from the ball. It was Sobolev that was the hardest thing for me to resist in the RPL so far. There were other good players, but I can’t say that they surprised me in some way, but Sobolev was directly remembered.”
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Vladislav Torop, goalkeeper, CSKA
Vladislav Torop made his debut in the 28th round of the Russian Championship. The 18-year-old goalkeeper, who is seen as a substitute for Igor Akinfeev, twice entered the field in the Russian Cup. And if in the relegation tournament Torop left the gate intact, then in the match against Sochi he conceded the only goal in the 10th minute, after the first shot on target. His contract with CSKA runs until the summer of 2026.
“I was told somewhere the day before the match that I might go out. It is clear that even earlier I could assume that I could play. But first of all, it was necessary to cope with the excitement. There didn’t seem to be any problems with it. I want to say a big thank you to everyone for putting me on the field and for the support of the coaching staff, as well as the people who did everything possible to get me here.
Excitement? In general, there was never any excitement on the field itself. Before the game there is always excitement, this is understandable. On the contrary, it’s good when you worry – it means that you will be as focused as possible. Today I did everything I could. Before the match, Akinfeev asked to look confident, outlined some tactical moments and wished him good luck. Igor said that everything would be fine and that he just needed to show his game. What did CSKA lack? I’m not a coach, it’s hard for me to evaluate it,” Torop commented on his debut.
Konstantin Nizhegorodov, defender, Rubin
The 19-year-old defender played 164 minutes in the RPL (three matches). All three games of Nizhegorodov took place in September – early October, and since then he has not appeared on the field. Konstantin is the son of Gennady Nizhegorodov, who played for Lokomotiv. Before moving to the Kazan club, the defender played in Germany for Schalke U17 and Hansa Rostock. In February of this year, Nizhegorodov spoke about the differences in the education of young players in Russia and Germany.
“I will note about the coaches in Germany: they do their best for your development, they try to develop you as a person and a professional. The basis for this is character, the ability to hold pressure. From childhood, we have a fear of making mistakes. A little bit of a mistake – that’s it, you won’t play. In Germany, this is easily possible: you went into a three-man dribble, lost the ball, scored in a counterattack to your team, you lost and flew out – and you will be praised. Just because you weren’t scared, tried something new. So guys and go to a new level. In the future, they go out to play at a big level with 50-60 thousand in the stadium without fear.
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Ilya Sadygov, forward, Khimki
The son of Khimki’s main investor, Tufan Sadigov, made some noise this spring. First, Ilya started with CSKA, and then scored against the army team and Krylya Sovetov. Sadygov played nine matches in the RPL (129 minutes). Here is one of his heads.
“Of course, there was excitement when they said that I would play from the first minutes. But on the day of the match, the guys supported me. The coaching staff prepared the team well for the game, they explained in detail what to do. They said that I would go out in the first half and I had to work out every moment to the maximum. Match setup? Score. The emotions are super – I always dreamed of scoring in the Premier League match! He dedicated the goal to his girlfriend and family who were at the match. Thanks to the team, everyone gave all their strength on the field,” Sadigov said after the match with CSKA.
Daniil Khudyakov, goalkeeper, Lokomotiv Moscow
Khudyakov successfully replaced Guilherme during the season. The 18-year-old goalkeeper has played 15 matches for Lokomotiv in all competitions (including the Europa League). In four of them, Daniil did not miss – with Khimki, Ufa, Spartak and Rubin. Since Guilherme is close to renewing his contract until the end of 2023, Daniil still has a difficult fight for the title of the first number of Lokomotiv next season.
Photo: Dmitry Golubovich, Championship
“I am very pleased that Loko has Khudyakov, who is almost ready. I have been here for 15 years, and it will be a great pleasure for me to make it stronger. It is my task to help him so that he gains experience. He already has the advantage of playing in the first team at the age of 17. This is the future of Lokomotiv and the Russian team. I’m glad that I have competition. The one who is better should play. I just have more experience. Now I can help young people. But I won’t be surprised if he wins the competition against me. He has everything for this, ”said Marinato Guilherme about a young colleague in the role.
Kirill Shchetinin, midfielder, Rostov
Shchetinin played 11 matches in the RPL – most of it after the return of Valery Karpin to the club. The Rostov head coach trusts the young, and the 20-year-old midfielder has become one of the team’s key players in the spring part of the season. The midfielder scored goals against Nizhny Novgorod and Lokomotiv, and also made an assist in the game with Arsenal. The rights to the player belong to Zenit, so it is possible that already next season Shchetinin will break into the base of the blue-white-blue.
Andrey Langovich, defender, Rostov
Langovich has a similar situation as Shchetinin. He also began to play under Karpin. The defender took part in 16 matches in all competitions, and in April extended his contract with the club for five years. Langovich is a pupil of Rostov football. Last year, he played 24 matches for the youth team of Rostov, scored four goals and made one assist.
Yuri Zheleznov, midfielder, Ural
In the summer of 2021, Zheleznov moved from Saturn to Ural, with whom he signed a two-year contract. This season, the midfielder played 19 matches (five from the first minutes), scored against Krylya Sovetov and Zenit and scored with Dynamo. Yury is a rotation player, but the last three matches (against Ufa, Dynamo and Spartak) started at the start. In April, Zheleznov’s ball to Zenit was among the contenders for the best goal of the month in the RPL.
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Abubakar Inalkaev, midfielder, Akhmat
Inalkaev is the youngest debutant of this season. The midfielder first entered the field on September 26 in a match with Rostov (2: 1). At that time, Abubakar was 17 years old, 1 month and 26 days old. The midfielder spent most of the time for the youth team of Akhmat, but he went to the RPL three more times – against Spartak, Khimki and Dynamo. In total, Inalkaev has 35 minutes played in the Russian Championship.