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Larsson's busy week for club and country
SEB LARSSON enjoys the quiet life at home but the Sunderland midfielder is warming up for a hectic and crucial week of football for club and country.
Before he heads in to next Sunday’s Wear-Tyne derby with Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light he must try to help Sweden stay on track for the next World Cup.
The Swedes were almost humiliated on Friday night when they came from behind against the Faroe Islands to win 2-1 to set up tomorrow night’s match with Germany.
Another display like that which almost ended in defeat in Torshavn three days ago and the second best team in the world – who knocked six past Ireland the same night – will run the Scandinavians ragged.
Larsson, set to earn his 49th cap in Berlin, knows Sweden have to avoid defeat to prevent the Germans from going six points clear at the top of Group C, with the latter having played a game more on four points.
“This is a huge match for us, but we think we can take something from the game,” admitted Larsson. “But every one of us needs to be at our best because Germany are a world-class side.”
While the importance of picking up a point is strong for Sweden tomorrow, Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill will be keen to hear the former Arsenal man has emerged without injury.
Once the internationals return to the Academy of Light for assessment in the middle of the week, all eyes will then be focused on the visit of Newcastle United on Sunday lunch-time.
Larsson’s first taste of the North-East derby was in August last year when the Magpies returned to Tyneside with the three points which set them up for an impressive season. A deflated Sunderland, on the other hand, went on to lose their manager, Steve Bruce.
It could have been different for Larsson. He had been linked heavily with Newcastle and there had been discussions between the two parties up to leaving Birmingham City as a free agent.
The 27-year-old said: “When I was at Birmingham there was a lot of speculation in January about different moves. I think Newcastle were one of the teams mentioned but I never went anywhere to talk to anyone at that time. As far as I know, I didn’t come up to Newcastle! I had lots of options and there’s always speculation when you’re in that position.”
Since moving to Sunderland the team’s form has never really reached the heights he was expecting when Bruce persuaded him to head for Wearside rather than anywhere else.
And Larsson is enjoying it. He said: “I’m settled at the football club, I’m settled outside of football. I’ve got nothing to complain about.
“I like playing golf and I try to get out as often as I can. I spend most of my time with my family and my daughter. It’s a pretty boring life, I suppose. There are quite a few games, especially at this time of year with internationals coming thick and fast. I’m the type of guy who doesn’t need to do too much to enjoy myself. I like to spend some quiet time at home.”
With captain Lee Cattermole to serve the final game of a three-match ban against Newcastle, Larsson is more than likely going to be in the middle of the Sunderland midfield again.
He said: “When it comes to playing in a central position or out wide, I don’t mind at all. I’ve moved inside for a few games this season. It’s different when you start playing in midfield and then you get moved back, I don’t like that. But anywhere in midfield I don’t mind.”