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Boot-less Yusupov primed for Russia squad

"I didn't even have my football boots," said Artur Yusupov who abandoned his holidays to train with Russia today, and has replaced the injured Igor Denisov in their EURO squad.

Artur Yusupov speaks to reporters at Russia's UEFA EURO 2016 training base
Artur Yusupov speaks to reporters at Russia's UEFA EURO 2016 training base ©Getty Images

Artur Yusupov has experienced a whirlwind 24 hours. At lunchtime on Sunday he was enjoying his holiday in Monte Carlo and getting ready to watch Russia's friendly against Serbia.

Fast-forward a day and the midfielder was drafted into Russia's squad for UEFA EURO 2016, taking part in his country's first training session at Croissy-sur-Seine in Paris – their official base for the tournament. "I was planning to fly back to Moscow today," he said. "I didn't even have my football boots with me and none of my kit. I had to borrow from Roman Neustädter."

The 26-year-old Zenit man's opportunity has arisen after Igor Denisov sustained a hamstring injury during Russia's 1-1 draw with Serbia in Monaco, which ruled the 32-year-old out of the finals. Yusupov, in the right place at the right time, was asked by coach Leonid Slutski to join up with the team.

"I was staying in Monaco, in the same hotel as the national side," he said. "It just happened like that. After being on holiday for 14 days, of course it is difficult to get down to work. I don't really know myself what state I will be in."

The loss of Denisov is the second major blow Slutski has suffered in the centre of midfield after losing Alan Dzagoev in May, before the squad was announced.

Rules over changing players
According to rule 44.03 of the UEFA EURO 2016 regulations, teams can replace injured players before the start of the tournament "if a doctor from the UEFA Medical Committee and the team doctor concerned both confirm the injury or illness is sufficiently serious to prevent the player taking part".