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Melkonyan savouring national service

Published: Wednesday 28 October 2009, 6.05CET
Samvel Melkonyan thinks his decision to return to former club FC Banants at the beginning of the season has been justified by his recall to the Armenia squad after a year-long absence.
by Khachik Chakhoyan
Melkonyan savouring national service
Samvel Melkonyan (left) in action for Armenia ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 28 October 2009, 6.05CET

Melkonyan savouring national service

Samvel Melkonyan thinks his decision to return to former club FC Banants at the beginning of the season has been justified by his recall to the Armenia squad after a year-long absence.

Samvel Melkonyan thinks his decision to return to former club FC Banants at the beginning of the season has been justified by his recall to the Armenia squad after a year-long absence.

Difficult time
Melkonyan joined FC Metalurh Donetsk from the Yerevan-based outfit in 2008 but failed to settle in Ukraine, making just 16 Premier League appearances for the club, nine of which came as a substitute. His failure to earn a regular place in the Metalurh team cost Melkonyan his place in the Armenia setup and only served to compound what the midfielder described as a "hard period for me".

Feeling at home
"For sure I really wanted to play and do my best," he told uefa.com. "I received a call-up to the national team for the last two World Cup qualifying games against Spain and Turkey. As far as I know, the coaching staff were satisfied with my performances. Hopefully I made the right decision when I moved back to Armenia. Banants are my native club and I feel like a fish in water here."

'Good shape'
Armen Gyulbudaghyants was appointed Banants coach at the end of the 2008 season and the trust he immediately placed in Melkonyan has been rewarded with some stirring performances. In 21 appearances in the Bardzraguyn khumb this term, the 25-year-old has struck a career best eleven goals, including five in his last four matches. "It is mainly [down to] Gyulbudaghyants why I am getting regular playing time and feel in good shape," said Melkonyan. "I understood that he trusted me and it gave me confidence."

'World-class player'
The respect is mutual, with Gyulbudaghyants adding: "Melkonyan can be useful for any team. I'm sure that he can be an example for young players. He has everything that a world-class player should have. He just needs to be more confident."

Injury problems
Confidence was clearly not something which affected Banants in the early stages of the campaign, however. The capital club won six of their opening seven matches and reached the Armenian Cup final − losing 1-0 to FC Pyunik − yet with two games of the season remaining they find themselves fourth in the eight-team championship, 16 points off the pace. "I don't know what has happened," added Melkonyan of the side's mid-season slump. "Every club has ups and downs. Maybe we had too many injuries. We've never played with our best squad."

No distractions
For now, though, Melkonyan is simply delighted to be back in the international fold and is focusing on ending the season on a high. "I was glad to get an international call-up even though I have played for the national team before; I wanted to prove that I am good enough to perform for Armenia," he added. "At the moment I'm concentrating on the league. We have two more games where we have to take six points. If I have some offers I will be ready to discuss them."

Last updated: 28/10/09 21.21CET

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