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Freddie Ljungberg opens up on Arsenal head coach Unai Emery

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 September 2018

Freddie Ljungberg celebrates the strike by Sylvain Wiltord that won the Premier League for Arsenal against Manchester United

Freddie Ljungberg celebrates the strike by Sylvain Wiltord that won the Premier League for Arsenal against Manchester United

PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal U21 boss Freddie Ljungberg spoke to the Islington Gazette pitchside at the Ricoh Arena on Wednesday evening after his side’s 3-0 victory over Coventry City in the club’s first-ever Checkatrade Trophy match. Read on for Layth Yousif’s interview with the Gunners much-loved legend

Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg holds the Premiership Trophy  in front of thousands of supporters.PAArsenal's Freddie Ljungberg holds the Premiership Trophy in front of thousands of supporters.PA

Emile Smith-Rowe’s fourth minute goal, substitute Eddie Nketiah’s cool finish on 71 minutes and a late Joe Willock goal sealed a 3-0 victory for Ljungberg’s Arsenal against the Sky Blues.

Ljungberg who also bosses the U23 side has made a good start on his return to North London having won their previous two Premier League 2 matches against West Ham at the London Stadium and Spurs at the Emirates.

The much-loved former Gunners midfielder who won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, scoring in two finals including the victory in 2002 over Chelsea, spoke about Unai Emery and his relationship with the head coach who replaced Arsene Wenger in May.

He said: “We speak every week, talk about players, what we’re thinking. He’s very open, which helps me a lot.

Freddie Ljungberg in a photocall for Calvin Klein (for whom he models), at the House of Fraser, central London.PAFreddie Ljungberg in a photocall for Calvin Klein (for whom he models), at the House of Fraser, central London.PA

“Of course I have my own way of how I want to play and he never tells me how to do that. But we’re quite similar regardless.

“I just want to prepare [my players] so they’re ready when they go up to his training.

“He works them really, really hard this summer and they’re very fit. My boys need to be ready for that.

“He’s an open manager and a nice, respectful man. He always asks how they’re doing. We had a few staff from Arsenal here [at the Ricoh] to look at them – it feels great for me that there’s interest from above.”

Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg celebrates with teammate Robert Pires. PAArsenal's Freddie Ljungberg celebrates with teammate Robert Pires. PA

Following a 1-1 draw at the Emirates against Brighton in the third week of August which was marked by Reiss Nelson’s spectacular last minute curler in his final match for the club before his loan spell to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, the junior gunners beat West Ham 3-2 at a wet and windswept London Stadium.

Nketiah’s brace aided the side in East London before goals from Joe Willock and Tyreece John-Jules ensured a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in N5 two weeks ago.

With such talents at his disposal the Swede is happy to embrace the Checkatrade Trophy.

He said: “It’s amazing. It gives players experience of beating grown men. It’s different, you see that when the tackles go flying in and the fans are cheering.

We love you Freddie/'Cos you've got red hair...Credit: PAWe love you Freddie/'Cos you've got red hair...Credit: PA

“That’s what happens in men’s football and they have to be ready for it. We’re not always the strongest players on the pitch, you have to use your technique in different ways. They learned a lot tonight and that’s great.”

“There’s different competitions to enter and I think this is a very important competition to be a part of, for young players to get a touch of first team football. We send them on loan but then we can’t coach them at the same time as they play against first-teams, I can do that here. It’s great for me.”

Follow Arsenal reporter Layth on Twitter @laythy29

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