Hibs completed the signing of Greek international Charalampos Mavrias on Wednesday. Joel Sked takes a look at the career of the new recruit.
Harry it is!
The first question on most fans’ lips would have been ‘how do you pronounce his name?’ Thankfully the club cleared it up straight away with a helpful video.
The player says his first name is pronounced ‘Har-al-am-bos’. However, he said that everyone is just calling him Harry and seems completely fine with that.
Champions League experience
Sixteen years and 183 days. That’s how old Mavrias was when he made his debut for Panathinaikos; a Champions League match with Rubin Kazan. At the time it saw the player become the second-youngest debutant in the competition’s history behind Celestine Babayaro.
It was 12 of the 90 or so minutes he played that season for the Greek giants. Over the next two seasons he became a more regular presence in and around the first team.
Motherwell fans may remember Harry. He scored in both games against the Steelmen for Panathinaikos when the teams met in Champions League qualifiers in 2012. And the goals had similarities; the player using his pace on the counter-attack to get away from the defence.
Following his emergence at Panathinkaikos, Mavrias was 18 when handed his Greece debut in 2012.
Less than a year later Sunderland paid around £2.5 million for his services with the player earmarked by the club as one for the future. Paolo Di Canio, however, took a shine to the Greek and he featured in four consecutive league games at the start of the season.
Yet, the day after his third league appearance Di Canio was sacked by Sunderland and he would play just one more time in the league for the Mackems - five minutes the following week.
Growth stunted at Sunderland
Mavrias was one of 14 arrivals at Sunderland in the summer of 2013. On rating each of the new signings the Evening News’ sister paper the Sunderland Echo selected the Greek as one of eight misses.
It’s explanation read: “The Panathinaikos winger, a Greek Under 21 international – joined the club as a real prospect but has yet to enhance it. Made little impact under Paolo Di Canio and has not played under Gus Poyet.”
Having become used to being a first-team player in Greece, Mavrias was soon on the outside looking in and would eventually be moved on loan. First to former club Panathinkaikos and then to 2.Bundesliga side Fortuna Dusseldorf.
He stayed in the second tier of Germany for the 2016-2017 season, finally becoming a regular around the first-team for a whole season with Karlsruher SC.
Mavrias was on the move again, joining then Croatian champions Rijeka in the summer of 2017. However, he was back to a bit-part role, featuring only ten times last season. He had signed a one-year deal with an option for three more but it wasn’t taken up and has been without a club since the summer.
Speaking in 2015 he didn’t regret joining Sunderland.
He told the Greek press: “I took the decision to leave Panathinaikos and go to Sunderland, and I think anyone in my position would take this decision.
“Panathinaikos were happy with the deal and the then coach (Paolo) Di Canio said he would give me opportunities. But in England, things can change quickly with the coaches and the players. Maybe, I could have managed some things better too.
“But each coach has his own philosophy and his own plan, and the players keep changing.”
Yet, since his debut in 2012 he has averaged 824 minutes of football per season. The equivalent of just over nine full games per term.
Hibs could be without Martin Boyle for the whole of January if he is picked in Australia’s squad for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.
It means that, following the second Edinburgh derby of the season, which takes place at Easter Road on 29 December, the winger could miss the fourth round of the Scottish Cup plus league games against Motherwell, St Mirren and Aberdeen.
That would certainly be the case if the Socceroos were to reach the final in the United Arab Emirates.
Signed until January, Mavrias has the opportunity to stake his claim for a longer deal and could be seen as the perfect Boyle replacement.
Last season with Rijeka, he played mostly as a wing-back on the right of a back five. He averaged the third most crosses and third most defensive duels in the team for the season.
He doesn’t dribble as much as Boyle but he does possess plenty of pace which he uses to eat up the ground, providing late runs on the wing and width high up the pitch.
It’s not just Boyle he can provide back-up to but across the pitch. Still only 24, Mavrias has played in a variety of positions in his career so far, including on both wings and through the centre.
David Gray has performed excellently for Hibs this season but has had to contend with a few knocks and niggles. Mavrias would provide healthy competition and give Lennon more options, both in terms of personnel and formations.
He has played most of his career on the right hand side of defence or midfield.
Hibs could also be a stable environment for the player to reignite a promising career, the way it has for others in recent seasons.
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