December 20 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Friday, October 18, 2013
Martin Olsson believes Norwich City can reap the benefits from his Swedish World Cup heroics.
The attacking full-back has played a pivotal role in helping his country reach the upcoming play-offs with group wins over the Republic of Ireland, Kazakhstan and a goalscoring display in last week’s crunch victory over Austria that secured Sweden’s place in Monday’s two-legged play-off draw.
Olsson’s international exposure this season has compensated for a relatively slow start to his Norwich career following a summer move from Blackburn.
“I think playing for the national team against Ireland and Kazakhstan in the previous two qualifiers gave me a lot of confidence and it gave me minutes on the pitch. That helped me a lot,” said the 25-year-old. “I’ve been feeling good since pre-season but I just felt I hadn’t got my chance. I’m playing now and I am enjoying my football.
“Yes, it’s been a good week or so for me. I was pleased to score. I knew I was going to score in that (Austria) game. I don’t know why but I just did. I had a couple of shots before that but then (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic gave me a good ball so I just had to put it in the back of the net. That was a massive win for us. We had to win that one to get into the play-offs.”
Olsson is wary of landing a potential showdown with Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in next week’s draw as they bid to emulate England’s achievement in reaching Brazil next summer.
“I think Sweden have a big chance in the play-offs,” he said. “We are playing well as a group. We have Ibrahimovic back from his suspension so anything can happen. It was good for England to qualify. You want to see the big countries at the World Cup and hopefully we can join them. We’ll wait and see.
“It is good for young players and the young people to watch their country in the World Cup and it is a dream for players to be there as well.
“If you ask me who I would like then I think probably Greece looking at the teams we could be drawn against. We definitely don’t want Portugal. Ronaldo seems to score two or three goals a game.
“I don’t think we can play France due to the seeding, but we are confident. We are playing well and we have strong characters in the team and some good players who change a game. I think we have a big chance.”
Olsson played the full 90 minutes in Sweden’s entertaining 5-3 midweek defeat to Germany in their final group fixture. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil dragged the Germans back into a game Sweden led 2-0.
The former Real Madrid midfielder, however, is poised to undergo a fitness test on a knee problem ahead of City’s weekend trip to London.
“He is a class operator. He set up a goal against us and scored one in that match,” said Olsson. “His quality and his first touch, there are not many players that have that. If he doesn’t play that would be good for us but they have so many good players.”
Wenger on Thursday delivered an upbeat injury bulletin on the latest fitness of his club record signing.
“He is all right. He came back with a knock on the knee but it was just a kick,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official site. “We’ll have a test to see if he is fit enough for Saturday or not. When you have not played, there is always a little doubt but not a major one.”
Chris Hughton admits the backing of Norwich City’s board helped him deal with the toughest periods of a testing Premier League season.