Freddie Ljungberg, with or without his red hair, would not be upset to get the Arsenal job on a permanent basis.
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That is the vibe surrounding the Swedish national team legend, who has being speaking to the media ahead of his first game in charge against Norwich City (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) after he stepped in on a caretaker basis following Unai Emery‘s firing on Thursday.
Asked if he wants to get the Gunners job on a permanent basis, Ljungberg was coy and wanted to keep the focus on the club he won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups with.
“It’s a great, great honor. I want to do as well as I can for this fantastic club and that’s what I feel today. I feel excitement and I’ll try to do a good job,” Ljungberg said. “For the moment it’s for the future of the football club. I’m here to help the club as much as I possibly can and try to get a good atmosphere around the club and with the supporters and that’s what I’m focusing on at the moment and then we’ll see [on getting the job on a permanent basis].”
Per Mertescaker will assist Ljungberg on Sunday at Norwich with Robert Pirers around too.
The Gunners are eight points off the top four heading into this weekend and the Swedish legend wants to put a smile back on the face of the Arsenal players and fans after a gruelling last few months under Emery, who didn’t know his best team and there has been a total lack of identity over the last 18 months.
Ljungberg has been the coach of Arsenal’s U23 side this season and they’ve scored 48 goals in 22 games. Asked what Arsenal’s fans should expect from his team, it appears he will take an attack-minded approach which slots in with being connected to the Gunners for the last 20 years.
“I’ve been at Arsenal for a long, long, long time, I like entertaining football but of course at the same time you can’t concede goals. That’s a tricky balance to find. For me, happy footballers play the best football,” Ljungberg said. “That’s a part I learnt as a player, there is a time to work hard but at the same time we need to enjoy what we’re doing. Often the players we have enjoy playing offensive football which makes them happy.”
It is clear Ljungberg wants the job, but with Mikel Arteta, Max Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Brendan Rodgers and Patrick Vieira all linked with the position, it seems unlikely he will be given the job on a permanent basis.
However, if the Swede gets off to a flying start it could be another situation similar to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United. Ljungberg knows the current crop of Arsenal youngsters very well and that is in his favor too, and the fans love him… even if he doesn’t have red hair anymore.