Arsenal Dream Team: 7. Freddie Ljungberg

Arsenal Dream Team: 7. Freddie Ljungberg

From relative unknown to Dream Team starter, Freddie Ljungberg is living proof that Arsène Wenger can turn apparently innocuous signings into world-class talents.

When Freddie moved to Highbury in 1998 he was best known as the bloke who had caused problems for England in a recent Euro 2000 qualifier. But the not-long-departed Anders Limpar was still the 'Super Swede' that came to mind if you were an Arsenal fan.

"Freddie's contribution to Arsenal Football Club was absolutely outstanding. He is a winner and always gave absolutely everything when he played for us. He was an intelligent player and always combined this well with his fantastic fighting spirit."

Arsène Wenger

That changed pretty quickly.

It took Freddie a matter of minutes to score on his debut as a substitute against Manchester United and he soon garnered a reputation as a man for the big occasion. But for Michael Owen he would have scored the winner at the 2001 FA Cup Final and he announced himself on the European stage with a brace against Juventus.

By the start of 2002 Freddie was much-loved; within months he was worshipped.

A serious knee injury ruled Robert Pires out of that year's run-in but for Freddie it was serendipitous. He shouldered a heavier burden in the Frenchman's absence and scored six times in five games to help deliver the title, capping it all with a sublime strike to secure the FA Cup against Chelsea.

Freddie was the centre of attention in Cardiff - the streak of red in his hair had been copied by countless Gooners and his famous chant (to the tune of 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You') echoed around the Millennium Stadium and the pubs and clubs that surrounded it.

He would be a popular man among his Dream Team-mates too. Freddie's tireless running and tenacious tackling would add ballast to the midfield and give the likes of Liam Brady greater licence to get forward while Lee Dixon would certainly enjoy the protection Freddie offers on the right.

The all-time XI would be guaranteed goals from that flank too, especially if a certain Dutchman was up front to pick out Freddie's trademark runs from deep.

We'll find out soon enough if that classic partnership will be rekindled.


Right midfield

Appearances: 328

Goals: 72

Selected in 44 per cent of teams

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