Clubs: FC Metalurh Zaporizhya, FC Shakhtar Donetsk
The captain of the Ukraine side that reached the finals of the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, Taras Stepanenko is a defensive midfielder of growing pedigree who has won the domestic league and cup double in each of his first two seasons with FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
• Joined FC Metalurh Zaporizhya in 2006 and was a Ukrainian U21 international within two months of making his debut for the club.
• Scored his first Ukrainian Premier League goal on 21 July 2007 – the winner against FC Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih – while still only 17 but managed no further league goals over the next three years before signing a five-year deal with Shakhtar.
• Appeared in half of Shakhtar’s league games in 2010/11 as they won the title but was absent from the Ukrainian Cup final win against FC Dynamo Kyiv.
• Less prominent in an injury-interrupted 2011/12 campaign but came on as a substitute in the cup final triumph over FC Metalurh Donetsk.
• Skippered Ukraine to the 2011 U21 finals, but made just one appearance in Denmark having already graduated to the senior set-up, his debut having come against Switzerland in Geneva on 17 November 2010.
• Won the domestic league and cup double in each of his first three seasons with FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
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