As the sporting world continues to react to the ongoing Russian invasion in Ukraine, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had a nice gesture for his Ukrainian left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko on Tuesday night.
Zinchenko, who was pictured in tears ahead of Saturday's Premier League game at Everton, was named captain for City's FA Cup tie away to Peterborough.
ITV pundits Roy Keane and Joe Cole praised the decision by Guardiola, and said that a game of football might be exactly what was needed for Zinchenko.
'Being on the pitch is the best thing for you' - Joe Cole and Roy Keane on Oleksandr Zinchenko
Oleksandr Zinchenko has been on the books at Manchester City for six years now and, for Tuesday's FA Cup clash with Peterborough, was named captain for the first time.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has brought an outpour of support for Ukrainian footballers and sportspeople, and Guardiola and club captain Fernandinho chose to show his support for the cause by symbolically handing left-back Zinchenko the captain's armband.
Zinchenko led the teams out alongside Peterborough skipper Frankie Kent, and the two captains carried out a Ukrainian flag as they entered the pitch.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has been given the captain's armband by Fernandinho for Man City's FA Cup match against Peterborough United. pic.twitter.com/8Ujld5D1Ru
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 1, 2022
Speaking on ITV's coverage, Roy Keane praised Zinchenko's courage, and suggested that a game of football is an ideal tonic for players suffering personally.
I think, obviously, whatever the player is going through must be very difficult. His family and friends are obviously at home.
But, I think there's been great support shown to these players and I think it's a good game for him to come in. Physically, mentally, it's not a tough game for Man City if they show up with the right attitude, and it's a game they should cruise through.
I think it is so important, sometimes, with players who are going through difficult spells, to go out and play football.
🗣 "You've seen the solidarity from the football community... Zinchenko's a top player anyway but he'll feel the love from his team-mates and the community at what is a really difficult time for him and his country." - Joe Cole
🏆 @EmiratesFACup | #ITVFootball pic.twitter.com/PjWIEaeS6p
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) March 1, 2022
Keane's fellow pundit Joe Cole added to the support for Zinchenko.
You've seen the solidarity from the football community, it's a good touch from Pep. Zinchenko is a top player anyway, but he'll feel the love from his teammates and from the football community in what is a really difficult time for him and his countrymen.
Sometimes when you're going through tough spells, being on the pitch is the best thing for you.
The horrifying reality of the situation in Ukraine has touched the sporting world, with gestures of support at the weekend's Six Nations action. Sanctions against Russian athletes and sporting federations continue to be introduced, with FIFA banning Russian teams from international and cross-border club action, and the Russian Grand Prix cancelled by Formula 1.