I couldn’t stay away from the UK, admits Wigan Athletic new-boy Jonas Olsson

Jonas Olsson admits his love for British foootball, and the UK, influenced his decision to sign for Wigan Athletic, a month shy of his 36th birthday.
Jonas OlssonJonas Olsson
Jonas Olsson

The big centre-back, who spent nine years with West Brom earlier in his career, was a free agent after the Swedish season recently ended.

And he jumped at the chance to join Latics for the rest of the campaign.

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“I’ve missed the UK a lot since going home to Sweden,” he admitted. “I almost feel more British than Swedish, I was here that long!

“I’m 35 now but I feel fit and I still enjoy my football as much as I ever have.

“And being a centre-half, I think part of what makes a good player is positioning, organising, reading the game – qualities which tend to get better with experience.”

Unlike most foreign arrivals, Olsson will need little time to get to grips with the game over here – and not just because of his imposing physique!

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“For a Swedish player growing up, it’s all about English football, the Premier League and the Championship,” he said.

“For me to be able to do that for a second time is very special.

“I had one year in the Championship with West Brom, so I think I know what to expect from the league.

“It’s probably the most physical league in world football.

“That’s obviously a strength of mine, and hopefully I can use to help the team.

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“I’m an aggressive centre-half, I like the physical side of the game, and that’s what attracts me to English football.

“But I also like to do my bit with the ball as well, I like to be part of the build-up play.

“Of course defending is the first task of being a defender, but in today’s game you have to have more about you.

“I hope to bring my qualities in both sides of the game, and I also think I have something to offer at set-pieces.”

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He’s even refusing to rule out the prospect of playing on for another full season if this short-term deal works out.

“I’ve never really looked too far into the future,” he added.

“I’ve always tried to live in the now, and enjoy what’s going on in the present.

“With my contract up in Sweden, I really felt the ambition to come back to the UK, because I’ve missed it.

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“I do feel part of me belongs in the UK so it was an easy decision to come back.”

He also has a Latics link, having played with Paul Scharner during his time with the Baggies.

“Ha yeah, I played with him for two years,” Olsson added.

“He’s a funny guy. Strange but funny! But what a pro he was, as fit as they come, and a fine player.”