Vitalijs Maksimenko spent teenage years at Gary Johnson's Latvian meetings
One of Yeovil Town’s newest arrivals has gone from a teenager swatting up on his national team manager’s coaching ethos to playing under him in the Football League.
Growing up as one of Skonto Riga’s brightest defensive prospects, Vitalijs Maksimenko attended seminars ran by Latvia boss Gary Johnson.
This week the now 22-year-old agreed to spend a month on loan at Johnson’s Yeovil Town having arrived in England to sign for Brighton and Hove Albion in January.
The left-footed former CSKA Moscow trialist is yet to make an appearance for the Seagulls, but Johnson said his pedigree was clear for all to see.
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“He’s obviously inexperienced and he’s got to learn about our game quickly,” said Johnson. “Brighton have a way of playing that’s different to everybody else.
“I have tried to tell him it’s very difficult to play like Brighton on the pitches in League One. He will have to adjust his game slightly but that will help his experience.
“He’s a strong lad, he’s quick, he’s left-footed and he’s got himself in the Latvia national team. He speaks good English so all that’s fine.
“He’s a good lad and hopefully he will get his opportunity if and when any of ours get another booking. We have got Jamie McAllister and Byron Webster on and close to ten so hopefully we can keep them on the pitch as long as possible but we have got cover.
“When I was in Latvia he would have been 13 years of age. He came on a few of my seminars, he said, and he enjoyed them. Skonto has got a good youth set-up, they teach them well and he does look like he’s ahead of the game on the coaching side. He’s certainly a bright on and the lights are on.”
Maksimenko joined Charlton Athletic striker Jordan Cook in the squad to face Swindon Town on Tuesday after he also signed one-month temporary deal.
Cook had been a long-term target for Glovers’ boss Gary Johnson after originally appearing on his radar whilst at Sunderland. Johnson said: “Our scouting system identified him as a player. We were going to take him on loan with a view (to sign permanently) but obviously Charlton took him.
“You’re obviously going to go to the Championship with the salaries that they are offering which are going to be higher than anywhere near what we could offer. This is doing the lad a favour, Charlton a favour and hopefully us a favour.”