Shved moved from Lviv to Celtic Glasgow in the summer of 2019 for an impressive fee of 2 mio Euro having snubbed a number of other solvent clubs‘ interest in him. An impressive goal during his first brief appearance in an ECL qualification match gave hope that this move could have been the right step. However after that nothing really went according to plan. Manager Brendan Rodgers left the club in that very summer break to take over management at Leicester City and was replaced by Neil Lennon who while stressing the potential he saw in Shved and that he merely needed some time to adapt ultimately never relied on him: Shved only played a total of 20 minutes during the entire season and did not even make the reserves in his team’s other matches.
The reason for his difficulties settling in Glasgow and Scottish football was seen in the rather physical style played in the SPL by many; hence Shved being a more technical type of player would have had to gain more strength and robustness. But this turned out not to be the main problem. According to the manager and sources in and outside the team, Shved, an introvert, practically spoke no English and – adding insult to injury – apparently made no significant effort to change anything about this. He was unable to connect with the team and had difficulties following the manager’s instructions on the field. Accordingly, during the last winter break, voices could be heard calling for a loan spell for Shved to get him pitch time and allow him to work on his deficits. In the end, Shved stayed in Glasgow for reasons that weren’t completely clear: apparently Lennon himself wasn’t completely sure and couldn’t bring himself to a decision.
In the summer, however, loan deal materialised – Shved joined Belgian side KV Mechelen for a year with buyout clause. This looked like a good idea at first: Belgian clubs are traditionally good at developing talent, as other Ukrainian players such as Bohdan Mykhajlichenko and Roman Yaremtschuk had shown before. Mechelen being a club from the bottom third of the table however led to some ambivalence – on the one hand there was hope of more playing time for him, on the other hand they were considered a club below his ambitions (and those of his home club).
At Mechelen, things didn’t work out for Shved either. In only 3 matches he spent merely 54 minutes on the pitch. Although he also was out of action for a few weeks due to a COVID-19 infection, this result is quite disappointing. It got even worse by what his coach Wouter Vrancken said about him yesterday on HLN, a Belgian news outfit:
I won’t waste my time on him anymore. Players and staff are doing everything they can to include Shved. But he puts himself above the group. He’s regularly late and doesn’t seem to want to be here. The staff and players have spoken to him several times. I have spoken to him privately and also in the group. If you don’t even get an answer … well then this will stop.
If you want to be a loner, you can. But then go play pool billard or something. In that case you don’t belong to this team in which everyone goes through fire and water for one another. He’s an introvert. And his arrogance makes it worse.
There are many players who, despite their qualities, are not getting the best out of their careers. This looks like it’s getting such a story. If he finds the switch in his head, fine – then we’ll have a high quality player. If this moment doesn’t come, I can’t accept him putting himself above the group.
An unnamed teammate is also quoted in the article:
Mariyan is a shy guy. He’s strong at one-on-one situations and a good finisher. A player of many qualities. But he has an incredibly bad attitude. I can understand the manager being unhappy.
At the moment Shved’s loan to Belgium doesn’t look like becoming a success story, and an early termination of his loan in the coming winter break seems likely. Unfortunately the problems here are pretty similar to those he already had in Glasgow. Apparently he’s shy and struggles to integrate into the group. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to judge whether he is really „arrogant“, since precisely this type of difficulty can easily be misinterpreted as arrogance. However, it cannot be ruled out either, since Mechelen is certainly not the kind of club where Shved sees his future.
According to sources, Shved has always led a very sheltered life with his family taking care of everything beyond the pitch. This lack of independence has likely made it difficult for him here, too – in particular as his first attempt to a career abroad at Sevilla FC in Spain had failed under similar circumstances (he was isolated, no ties to teammates).
Mariyan Shved is now 23 years old – a phase of his career when he has to be on the pitch, gain experience and grow as a player. Whether he succeeds in doing so will depend on himself above anything else, and if he has not learned how to act like an adultyet, now is almost his last chance to make this step. A seemingly imminent failure at Mechelen will most likely not motivate other European clubs to sign him, and back in Glasgow he will have to expect the same difficulties he had before.
Another option would be a return to Ukraine, however, as things stand now certainly not to now-third-tier Karpaty Lviv (or even Halych), but maybe Dynamo? Of course we – and he! – need to understand one thing: at a Ukrainian club he will neither learn English nor learn to master life abroad alone, hence such a return “home” would be a trip with a one way ticket.
Das deutschsprachige Original dieses Artikels ist hier: Mariyan Shved, quo vadis?
Статтю можна читати укранською мовою тут: „Якщо ти хочеш бути одинаком – йди грати в більярд“: у Шведа грандіозні проблеми в Мехелені – що відбувається?