Youth Spotlight — Denys Balanyuk
This next Youth Spotlight features Dnipro goal-scorer, Denys Balanyuk. Balanyuk has played as a central attacking midfielder but also a lot at striker. Denys is currently 19 years old and has spent the past few years in Dnipro’s academy, where he has played a lot in the midfield as well as striker. His sharp vision and adept dribbling allow him to create superb chances for his teammates, reminding some of a young Eden Hazard. When he plays as a striker, as he has many times in the senior team, he floats around the opposition’s back four and is a constant nuisance, continuously pressing to regain possession of the ball. No matter what position Denys plays at, he is likely to score goals. Last year while playing for Dnipro’s U-21 side, he scored 15 goals and helped assist on many other goals.
This year, Denys has earned himself a permanent spot on Dnipro’s first team, a squad in desperate need of talent at the moment. Many players have recently left Dnipro due to financial issues. This left the club no choice but to look to their academy for new players to lead them to victory. In fact, this year’s Dnipro first team features seven players aged 21 or younger.
Just this weekend, Dnipro played their first game of the 2016/17 Ukrainian Premier League season against Volyn Lutsk. Many people were questioning if this new-looking Dnipro team had what it takes to win, and the youngsters gave them an answer. Dnipro won 5–0 with Denys leading his team to victory by scoring twice. It did not take him long to prove himself.
We were fortunate enough to ask Denys a few questions about football. Read the interview below!
Futbol Ukraine: How is the summer training going?
Denys Balanyuk: This summer, the beginning of training did not start the way I would’ve liked it to because of my injury. But at training camp, after the trauma, I started training again. The training was intense, but the preparation was very good.
FU: What are your goals for this season? And for your future?
DB: There are many unclear things in the club right now, but we won’t talk about them. Right now it’s important to play in the Premier League and showcase myself.
FU: A lot of players have left Dnipro recently, do you think the young players, such as yourself, are ready to lead the team?
DB: Yes, a lot of people left and left the load for the youth. Fewer people now believe in us but the young players will show our football. I myself as a young footballer am sure that we have a good team and I believe that we will give 100%.
FU: Who is your favorite footballer?
DB: I do not have one player that I love. I like a lot of players, especially at the European level.
FU: Is there a club you dream of playing for?
DB: Of course there is a dream to play elsewhere in Europe, to go to those crazy stadiums with the fans and show yourself there.
FU: You have played at different positions in the midfield and at forward. What position do you prefer playing at?
DB: Since my childhood I played at central striker. I think I want to play on the wing, because you get more passes and get more “meat”. You find yourself with the ball more often.
FU: What is your greatest memory in football?
DB: Perhaps in my short life of football, it is the memory of playing a big role in the championship of India [Sait Nagjee Tournament]. It was incredibly cool when the stadium was filled with 50,000 fans. The atmosphere is unreal. I would like to see this in Ukraine, like it was a couple years ago.
Thanks a lot to Denys for the interview.
Denys has a bright future and has given many Ukrainian fans hope for the future of Dnipro and the National Team. We look forward to seeing him score many more goals!
Special thanks to Christian De Luca for the help on this piece. You can follow him at @ChristianDeLucs
Stay tuned for more!