Blokhin: Shevchenko must be fit if he wants to make Euro 2012
Apr 7, 2012, 10:07 GMT
Berlin - Andriy Shevchenko will only be nominated for Euro 2012 in his Ukrainian home country if he is fit, coach Oleg Blokhin reiterated in an interview published on Saturday.
Blokhin told Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) he was well aware of Shevchenko's merits and his desire to end his international career at the home event but that names mean nothing to him.
'It all depends on him. He is important for the team and I know what the tournament means to him. But names don't play on the pitch, only footballers who are in good shape. If he is fit we will take him,' Blokhin said.
Blokhin has not written off Shevchenko for the 23-player squad for which 16 or 17 players are certain so far, naming Shevchenko 'an active player' for whom so far no other role has been chosen at the tournament if he doesn't make the cut as a player.
Shevchenko, 35, was a Ukraine star for more than a decade and is the nation's leading scorer with 46 goals.
But the former AC Milan and Chelsea forward, who returned to Dynamo Kiev in 2009, has been battling injuries and only returned to Kiev action as a substitute last weekend.
He faces a race against time to make the team for the Euro tournament his country co-hosts with Poland from June 8 onwards.
Ukraine face a difficult group with England, France and Swden, but Blokhin - himself a legend from his days as Soviet Union and Kiev player - is upbeat.
'Our fierst aim is to get through the group stage. But I believe that we are stronger than 2006 in Germany when we reached the World Cup quarter-finals,' Blokhin said.
Blokhin said that results of friendlies in the buildup, a 3-3 draw with Germany and narrow wins over Austria and Israel, mean nothing.
'Our latest games were better but not quite the way we wanted them to be. But you only have a day or two with the team ahead of a game. The game is like a coin toss. The test (friendlies) are all unimportant, the key will be the training camp in Austria shortly before Euro,' Blokhin told the SZ.
Read more about Ukraine
Read more about Football Euro2012