By Richard Clarke
Freddie Ljungberg turned 28 last Sunday. That age is said to be the prime of a footballer's life; a unique time when they can combine fitness, speed and experience.
Ljungberg has plenty of that last commodity and has been happy to share it as Arsenal's youthful side have overcome a sticky start to emerge as a powerful unit - in England and in Europe - over the latter part of the campaign.
"It's been very different from other seasons in that usually we have been competing for the title and we haven't really had the chance to do that this season," Ljungberg told the Arsenal Magazine. "But we've had a lot of new, young players coming through and that's the way it has to be sometimes when you are bringing through new players.
"With so many young players joining the team it took a
while for us to adjust and work together, but I think there are
some fantastic young players in the Arsenal squad. We're
definitely on the right track now, we've started to play really
well, like we know we can.
"With all the young players, it's been important for us older players to think more about the team than ourselves and it's a responsibility I've enjoyed. But then I've always been told to help all of the other players.
"When I was very young at Halmstads I was vice-captain and I spoke to much older players and helped them out. That's just the way I've been taught. At the same time I don't talk all the time [in the changing room], I try just to show people things on the pitch, explaining what has to be done. That's even more important now. In my time at Highbury this has been the biggest transition I've witnessed but I think the great progress we've made in the Champions League has made this season one to remember."
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 21 Apr 2006