Kris ready to grab his chance
Kristoffer Nordfeldt has set his sights on success at Swansea City after a spectacular summer with Sweden.
Nordfeldt is back with his club-mates after a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience with his country.
And having savoured the World Cup, the goalkeeper is determined to seize the chance which is now in front of him at club level.
After 18 Swans appearances in three frustrating seasons spent acting as back-up to Lukasz Fabianski, Nordfeldt has the opportunity to make the No. 1 shirt his own.
It is no foregone conclusion that Nordfeldt will start the new season in the Swans’ goal, for Erwin Mulder is another experienced, good-quality option at Graham Potter’s disposal.
But after a spell in the shadows, Nordfeldt is determined to win the battle to take the gloves following Fabianski’s move to West Ham.
“It’s a big moment for me,” he acknowledges.
“I have been trying to take the shirt for the last couple of years but fair play to Lukasz, he did some amazing work during his spell at the club.
“Hopefully, I can take the jersey now and then keep on the same path Lukasz was on.
“I came to Swansea knowing it would be difficult to get games, but I didn’t think I would play as little as I have. It’s been tough.
“You do not accept sitting on the bench – no professional athlete is happy if they are not playing.
“I hope now there is an opportunity. I know my abilities and I hope I can show them to the new staff.”
They may be rivals, but Nordfeldt and Mulder are also friends.
The two senior keepers on the Swans’ books are rooming together during this week’s pre-season stint in Austria.
Both know that if they are on the bench when the Championship season begins in 12 days’ time, they may be there for a while.
Such is the life of a goalkeeper.
“You know as a keeper that you will not come on as a substitute very often,” Nordfeldt says.
“It’s usually only when there is an injury or a red card that you get a chance.
“That means it’s all about staying focused and being ready when you get the chance.
“Erwin and I are battling for sure. This is a big club and there will always be competition in every position.
“My relationship with Erwin is good – it has been since he joined the club.
“But it’s all about showing the gaffer and new staff that you want to play.”
Having spent more time than he would have liked on the bench since joining the Swans from Heerenveen, Nordfeldt was a substitute once more in Russia over the summer.
Robin Olsen, a regular for Danish heavyweights Copenhagen, is Sweden’s current No. 1.
Nevertheless, Nordfeldt was pleased to be part of Sweden’s World Cup adventure given that he has played only limited club football in recent times.
“Getting selected and receiving that confidence boost from the manager was good for me,” he says.
“Hopefully I can now play some more games for Swansea and push for some more games for Sweden.
“It was a busy summer with not many free days, but it was a nice World Cup.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For a country like Sweden, it’s not that often we qualify for the big tournaments. To get there and do as well as we did was amazing.”
The Swedes beat South Korea in their first World Cup game and then, after a narrow defeat to Germany, thumped Mexico 3-0.
They beat Switzerland 1-0 in the second round to set up a quarter-final against England which went the way of Gareth Southgate’s team.
“We knew we had a difficult group, so to win it was a lot more than anyone expected,” Nordfeldt says.
“Switzerland was another good win, but we felt we had a good chance against anyone after what happened in the group. We had massive team spirit.
“England was disappointing because we didn’t perform as well as we had been.
“It was a big disappointment for a couple of days, but then when you look back I think it was an amazing summer for the country.”
Now for a strong season with the Swans.