Sweden boosted by Guidetti and Ibra displays

January 30, 2012

By Phil O’Connor

Under normal circumstances Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s dipping first-half free kick in AC Milan’s 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday would have been enough to give Sweden coach Erik Hamren a pleasant end to the weekend.

But if Hamren had been watching Feyenoord beat Ajax in in Holland’s Eredivisie on Saturday he would have seen another Swede, John Guidetti, net a hat-trick as Feyenoord won 4-2, giving him a mouthwatering selection problem ahead of Euro 2012.

On loan from Manchester City, Guidetti is widely considered to be one of Sweden’s most promising talents in the post-Zlatan generation, but until his move to Rotterdam he hadn’t done much at the top level of the game.

Starved of opportunities at mega-rich Manchester City, he had a successful spell on loan back in Sweden with Brommapojkarna and a short stay at Burnley. These two stints have given a glimpse of his precocious talent, but it is in Holland that he is finally starting to deliver.

Fourteen goals so far this term for Feyenoord have made him a fan favourite, with his hat-tricks against Twente and Ajax going a long way to establishing his reputation.   He broke into the Swedish Under-21 side in May 2010, and with Alexander Gerndt – recently convicted on a domestic violence charge – unlikely to be picked for the foreseeable future, Guidetti may be fast-tracked into Hamren’s senior setup in time for Euro 2012.

If Hamren is considering bringing him to face France, England and Ukraine at the finals it is likely that he wil be in the next squad to face Croatia in a February friendly.

But the confident Guidetti wants to be there on merit, and not because of Gerndt’s domestic difficulties.

“If I’m in the national team it’s because Im good enough, not because someone else is suspended,” Guidetti told Fotbollskanalen back in December.

If Hamren thinks he’s good enough, Ibrahimovic might soon have some competition when it comes to taking the free kicks for Sweden.

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