Exclusive interview with Arsenal Academy expert on Freddie Ljungberg
Well it’s happened Unai Emery has finally been sacked by Arsenal, after a run of 7 games without a win , in form only rivalled by the poor time of the 90s. Josh Kroenke is quoted in the club statement saying it’s down to results not being up to scratch but also he informs us that Freddie Ljungberg will be the Interim head coach until Arsenal have found a replacement.
Freddie Ljungberg is a fan favourite for many from a happier, invincible time for Arsenal, he has since been gaining experience in many other places on and off the pitch to prepare him for this moment.
With a post Arsenal playing career taking him to Scotland, USA, Japan and India as well as a coaching roles in Sweden, Germany, Wales and obviously Arsenal, “Freddie” has had time to see many styles and form his own.
To find out what Ljungberg’s style is and how he’s done since coaching Arsenal U23s I spoke to Arsenal Academy expert Jeorge Bird.
Since Freddie started working at the Academy in 2016 have you noticed, what he is like as a coach, how he gets on with the players, for instance?
JB – He tends to take a very hands on approach and regularly points out to players aspects they can improve while the game is in play. Most of the players who have worked under him speak very highly of him.
What was Freddie Ljungberg’s style as a coach when he was coaching the U23s and how has that changed in his time coaching Arsenal players?
JB – His style with the U23s involved playing the ball out from the back, lots of pressing and a midfielder (normally Willock) making dynamic runs. As far as I’m aware he’s mostly adhered to the same style.
There is some speculation that Freddie was brought in to the Arsenal first team because of his link to the younger players, are there many in the team he’s especially close to?
JB – He has a good relationship with Willock, who he helped to improve immensely. He also gets on well with Saka and Smith Rowe.
Finally how do you think he’d be able to handle the role of Arsenal head coach?
JB -To be honest I think it is probably a bit too early for him to be considered. He can add a lot as an assistant but may not yet be ready to be the head coach himself. It would be intriguing to see how his style would work in senior football and he would probably give lots of chances to youngsters, but I would prefer a more experienced coach.
Jeorge Bird has a website detailing all events at the current events at the Arsenal youth teams arsenalyouth.wordpress.com or you can catch him on twitter at @jeorgebird
I got into football as a kid watching Italian football in the afternoons and ever since I’ve been hooked on tactics and the continental side of the game. I’ve written about Italian football in the past among other things but now it’s time to write about, the embodiment of how I see the beautiful game, Arsenal. Hopefully writing things and opinions about the game you haven’t seen before, I like a bit of a joke too.