Freddie Ljungberg is a bit of an Arsenal legend.
After signing for Arsenal in 1998 he became a man for the big occasion, with plenty of cup final goals and a number strikes against our closest rivals. After two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a Champions League final he was one of very few Invincibles to still be around for our move to Emirates Stadium.
Scoring 71 goals in 313 Arsenal appearances, he’s one of the legends from one of our most successful ever periods, and he’s now back in north London.
“I try to help the club, coaching the under-15s,” he said to Arsenal Player about his new role. “It’s great, they are a great bunch of lads and the coaches are great as well.”
The Swede is now 38 and has worked as an ambassador for Arsenal over the last year or two, but now he is clearly considering a future in coaching.
Maybe, hopefully, a role will come in London, though there are no plans yet.
“I haven’t made a massive plan or anything like that yet. I coached some under-18s and I saw that they appreciated what I taught them.
“They hadn’t seen it before. I’m trying to give something back to football at the moment and it feels great.”
And maybe that last point reveals just why Freddie is at Arsenal – he wants to give something back. Recently there were questions as to why Patrick Vieira was at the club – he himself said he was surprised Arsenal never called him – but why should we?
It isn’t about furthering the careers of our ex-players, or it shouldn’t be. We’ve already done that during their playing careers. It’s brilliant to help out but, to be blunt, we don’t absolute need them anymore. However, Freddie wants to give something back. He isn’t here for his own ego, for his own gain, and that’s what coaching the youth teams is all about.