Denis Cheryshev refused to say whether he deserved a place in Russia’s starting line-up after a sublime brace against Saudi Arabia in the FIFA World Cup opener.
The Villarreal and former Real Madrid youth team winger netted either side of halftime after replacing injured midfielder Alan Dzagoev in the 24th minute as the hosts coasted to a 5-0 victory on Thursday, reports Efe.
“I always respect the decision of the coach,” the 27-year-old said.
“If he decides to call on me, I will be ready. I was happy to be among the 23 to be at the World Cup and I want to continue to work hard as part of the team,” he added.
The goals were Cheryshev’s first in 12 appearances for his country. He said he was overwhelmed with emotion, having endured a series of injuries throughout his career.
“There are no words to express my feeling right now,” he said.
“I dreamed of a night like this. I’m happy for my team and my family. They have suffered so much with my injuries and they deserve this result. I’m extremely happy that we have won but we shouldn’t relax. We have to keep focusing to try to progress (in the tournament).”
If Cheryshev’s first goal showed rare class — with his deft control and a powerful finish — the second was even more impressive as he unleashed a wicked 20-yard shot with the outside of his left foot.
“It happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to think,” he said of the second goal. “I just took a shot and scored.”