Promising Golden Player
When it comes to Anton Mitryushkin, the names Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas, Toni Kroos or Mario Götze are often mentioned as well. Why? Because, like the young Russian goalkeeper, all of them also received the award as best player, as Golden Player of a U17 European Championship.
Anton was the only right choice for UEFA at the time, because he didn’t show any nerves on the biggest stage of all, coupled with razor-sharp reactions, dominance in the air and an outstanding shot defence.
Born in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, the goalkeeper was trained in the “best academy of Russia” at Spartak Moscow. They had scouted him at the age of 13 when he was still playing in Rostov and Anton convinced at a sighting tournament right away.
Strong nerves, fast reactions and outstanding
At the European Championship in May 2013, Spartak Moscow’s young goalkeeper suddenly became a household name in the football world because he was able to remain calm in difficult situations, strongly anticipate and bring a good build up game with him for a 1, 89-meter goalie. He was a modern goalkeeper and from that time also U17 European Champion with Russia.
In the semi-final of the 10:9 penalty shoot-out against Sweden, he had parried one shot and converted his own – and in the final of the 5:4 against Italy, he fended off three penalty kicks. In five European Championship matches, he scored four times without conceding a goal and from now on Spartak had the greatest Russian goalkeeper talent in his squad.
“With a nerveless performance on the biggest of stages, combining razor-sharp reactions, dominance in the air, and outstanding shot-stopping, Russia goalkeeper Anton Mitryushkin was the only choice by the time the trophy had been lifted.
Official statement of the UEFA jury on the choice of the U17 European Championship 2013 Golden Player
The problem: Even though Anton made his debut in the Russian Premier League in 2014 at the age of 18, he did not play a role. When he had only failed against Spain in the final of the U19 European Championship 2015 with Russia and the Russian captain was in the team of the tournament, he decided to move to FC Sion in Switzerland in February 2016 – after only three first division appearances for Spartak.
“This is my dream”
Anton wanted to leave. Nothing was more important to him than playing, which was the deciding factor for the Swiss league. In Sion, he was number one after a few months and stayed number one, even playing in two Europa League qualifiers. He settled in quickly because “unlike Rostov and Moscow, it’s so quiet here that we feel like we’re on holiday”.
After his strong performances Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and above all RB Leipzig were treated as interested clubs. “I want to play a good season and then switch to the Bundesliga,” rejoiced Anton before the 2017/2018 season, adding with blazing eyes after a short break: “This is my dream.
But again it turned out differently. At the end of November, he injured himself and a cartilage damage meant that he missed the entire second half of the season and, after complications in the healing process, the whole of 2018. The World Cup in his own country was no longer an issue. At the beginning of 2019, he was allowed to train again in order to play a game again in the second team in May after one and a half years.
“The club and my family gave me a lot of strength in these difficult times,” says Anton, who then directly extended his contract by three years to give himself time. Time to become the strong and powerful goalkeeper he was before his injury – and one day to prove to the football world that he was rightly one of the Golden Players of the U17 European Championship and more than a great talent.