Ilya Mikheev arrives at the Krylya Sovetov Samara youth academy after debuting in the Russian Second Division with Lada Togliatti.
“I still remember my first second-division game, making the starting eleven wasn’t an easy hustle. When my coach came around to trusting me with a place on the pitch for kick-off, we had a really tough game but, in the middle of the first half, I provided a winning assist. We ended up winning the match and it was no doubt an important moment in my professional career… and in my life.”
“In BARCELONA I improved a lot. THAT’s precisely why I managed to make the jump to professional football”
“My father found Marcet online,” recalls the Russian midfielder. “I knew that in my country I wasn’t going to make as much progress as I’d have liked, so I decided to try a summer camp in Barcelona and I liked it because there was always a ball involved in every training session. It wasn’t as physical as in Russia, so I moved to Barcelona to start the Professional Program. I ended up finally making some solid progress technically and physically, but above all, I was learning new things in the way of tactics.”
Ilya’s experience with Lada Togliatti marked a before and after in her career. The Russian midfielder always dreamed of reaching professional football, and making that leap was a “massively gratifying.” However, a knee injury prevented him from renewing his contract and Ilya then went to the nearby city of Samara where he’d join Krylya Sovetov’s U21s. It’s an important club which competes in the Russian Premier League. I feel very well here, my coach played in the Netherlands and has a tactical approach that’s similar to what I was learning back in Spain.
Ilya knows how to move well with the ball at his feet because his technique and game vision serve him well and his knack for stealing the ball makes him a well-rounded midfielder. He feels more comfortable playing in the middle as a playmaker, but in Krylya Sovetov he occasionally plays as a winger. “I’ve come here after my experience in the Second Division, and that’s probably why I feel confident with what I’m capable of, I’m kicking off every game and I feel in great, the season’s looking good for me so far.”
But Ilya already has his sights set on the future. “My goal is to continue making progress, both in football and as a person. I believe that I’m in the right place to start fulfilling my sport and academic objectives. We’ll see what opportunities surface on the way.”