First Year Scholar
Born: 30/06/1995 Norrkoping, Sweden
Height: 5ft 9in
Weight: 10st 7lb
By Lambros Lambrou
Young Swede Kristoffer Olsson joined the Arsenal Academy this summer and, as is expected, there have been a lot of things that the youngster has had to get used to - the most surprising of which are football boots!
“In Sweden we tend to play on artificial pitches and so it is only since coming to England that I have started wearing studded boots,” explains the 16 year-old. “Grass pitches suffer with the weather back home and the astro-turf pitches allow us to play the ball on the ground and develop technique.
"The pitches that we play on here in England are just perfect though and I am enjoying my football so much. We had a tough game with Charlton the other weekend but I believe it was my best game so far. I really enjoyed that match and as a team we all worked so well together and we had to because they were very good.”
The young midfielder was signed by the Gunners following his second trial at Shenley. “I first came over last November and then again last February and after that I was told Arsenal wanted to sign me. That was fantastic news for me. Even though I had an affection for Manchester United before coming to Arsenal, I would not want to be anywhere but here,” says the young Swede. “I am now an Arsenal fan 100 per cent and maybe one day I will dye my hair red like Freddie Ljungberg did!”
There are very many similarities between Freddy and Kris, and perhaps a helping of Sebastian Larsson too. “In Sweden I played more as a defensive midfielder, but now I am here with Arsenal I have played in an offensive role. I wear the number 10 shirt and tend to play further forward just behind the strikers and it is my defensive game that I really want to improve now,” he explains.
“I am doing a lot of work to develop my strength which will help. The game in England is so much faster, but I really enjoy that sort of fast passing game. High tempo, quick passing with few touches is the style we like to play and that suits my game perfectly I believe.
“I came from IFK Norrkoping which is quite a big club in Sweden but nowhere near as big as Arsenal. My colleagues were good players, but not of the standard we have here. I am now surrounded by top players in every position and I really like that because it is an inspiration to keep improving. It is a challenge to get better and better because all the players here are already so good and working to get better too.”
The other factor Kris enjoys about being at Arsenal is the players’ attitude. “Everyone has helped all the new players settle in so well and there is a good spirit here, but that is also true of the first team. They are world class superstar players, but no-one walks around behaving like that. Everyone is normal and it is a very comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. To be up close to the players in the first team is invaluable. I like to learn from everyone, and watching people like Robin van Persie is such an honour and I believe I have improved a lot simply by watching and learning from them.
“After the game at Chelsea, I think there is a real belief in the Club now that we can beat anyone, but every team still deserves our respect."
Who did you play for before Arsenal?
IK Sleipner and IFK Norrkoping
Best ever advice?
If you want to do something, do it 100 per cent
Best moment in football before joining Arsenal?
Winning the Nike Cup in Sweden
Which team did you support growing up?
Man United but I’m 100 per cent Arsenal now!
Who did you pretend to be on the playground?
Zidane or Beckham
Favourite teacher at school?
Ulf Lundblad, Borgsmoschool
Other sports good at, at school?
Most influence on your football career so far?
Other clubs interested before signing for Arsenal?
Juventus, Ajax and IFK Gothenburg
Fave item of clothing?
Jeans and Converse
Swedish comic called Sean Atci and Mr Bean
Which current Arsenal players are your role models?
Robin van Persie and Jack Wilshere
Best thing about being part of the Academy?
Always good sessions and you are playing with some of the best players in your age group
Three words to describe you as a player...
Quick, clever, good passer
Three words to describe you as a person...
Calm, happy, down-to-earth
Most talented team-mate
Too difficult to choose one
Tell us something we don’t know about you
When I was 13 Chelsea wanted me to go on trial but I didn’t go!