In the spotlight - Gylfi Sigurdsson

27th September
In The Spotlight

The Iceman does not always keep his cool.

"I can get pretty angry with myself," Gylfi Sigurdsson concedes.
"Sometimes, especially when I was younger, I got pretty mad."
These are not words you would expect to hear from a player who rarely, if ever, looks ruffled.
But then Swansea City's all-time leading scorer in the Premier League is not talking football when he talks tantrums.
Instead, he is referring to his mood on the golf course.
"Golf is my favourite hobby," Sigurdsson explains.
"If I could do anything apart from playing football, it would be playing golf. I am not bad at it."
Not bad is playing it down. Sigurdsson has a handicap of just four despite the fact that he does not get the clubs out too often.
When he does play, he is often joined by Swans team-mates Wayne Routledge ("not too bad considering he hasn't been playing long," according to Sigurdsson) and Gerhard Tremmel ("quite consistent").
Apparently, Sigurdsson normally comes out on top in that particular three-ball, though Kristoffer Nordfeldt is said to be talented on the tee.
"I am told Kris is very good, but I haven't played with him yet. We will have to have a match soon," Sigurdsson says.
Langland Bay, Machynys and Vale of Glamorgan are among the courses frequented by Sigurdsson, who names Tiger Woods as the celebrity - dead or alive - he would most like to have dinner with.
It is safe to assume Sigurdsson will be tuning in to watch the Ryder Cup this weekend.
While the world's best golfers will be battling it out in Minnesota, Sigurdsson can sympathise with the pressure on each of their shoulders.
Yet Sigurdsson's ability to stay cool under pressure is a key attribute to his successful conversion rate from the penalty spot, which was evident during the recent 2-2 draw with Chelsea.
How does he remain so composed?
"I think it's because I know what I am doing," says Sigurdsson.
"Pretty much every day in training, I will take penalties or practise free-kicks.
"You are just focusing on what you are trying to do, hitting the target and getting the ball in the net."
Sigurdsson has been scoring goals all his life.
"I remember seeing some video clips of when I was young, I used to get a few goals," he says through a smile.
"The videos were back home in Iceland, with my club FH. I played indoor football and then outdoor in the summer, probably from the age of seven.
"Scoring goals is my job now, so hopefully I can continue to do it for Swansea."
It was while he was a teenager in his homeland that Sigurdsson began dreaming of a career in English football.
His family knew as much, hence they set about trying to get his name known on these shores.
"I think my brother and my dad sent a few clubs some clips of me playing football," Sigurdsson explains.
"Preston North End was one of the clubs and I spent some time with them. Reading was another. I think my family got in touch with someone in Reading's youth set-up.
"I went to Reading four or five times on trial before I signed. There were a couple of Icelandic players at the time in the first team, that was maybe why it happened. I ended up signing when I was 15, then I moved over to England as I was turning 16.
"People have asked me if it was difficult, whether I missed my family and friends back in Iceland, but I knew it was what I wanted to do.
"That meant it wasn't that hard for me. My parents came over too after four months. I wanted to play football on grass the whole year round, with good players and good facilities."
The decision for the whole family to up sticks paid off.
Sigurdsson was just 18 when he made his senior debut for the Royals in a League Cup tie against Luton Town in August 2008.
Later that season there were a couple of loan spells away from the Madejski Stadium. First Sigurdsson dropped down to League Two with Shrewsbury Town, where he netted his first Football League goal just 22 minutes into his debut.
Next Sigurdsson sampled League One with Crewe Alexandra, and scored three times in 15 appearances.
The signs of promise were there.
And when he returned to Reading for the 2009-10 campaign, Sigurdsson was given his chance by Brendan Rodgers.
Though Rodgers was dismissed midway through the season as his team struggled, Sigurdsson thrived.
He scored no fewer than 20 goals in his breakthrough year, a startling return which saw Hoffenheim stump up £6 million to land Sigurdsson in August 2010.
Initially, he impressed with the Bundesliga club, but injury problems at the start of his second season in Germany saw Sigurdsson fall down the pecking order.
"That was when I got the chance to come here and play," Sigurdsson recalls.
"With Swansea being in the Premier League and knowing Brendan, I was quick to say yes.
"It was a very good move for me. It was my first time playing in the Premier League and I was really happy with the way it went.
"It didn't take long for me to settle - we won our first game against Arsenal at home. That was a nice way to start and we carried on from there. I didn't really want to go back to Germany after that."
Sigurdsson's first Swans goal came in only his fourth league appearance for the club - a 2-1 win in the snow at West Brom.
It was apparent almost as soon as he arrived in SA1 that he would bring another dimension to Rodgers's frontline.
Four-and-a-half years on from his maiden Swans strike, Sigurdsson's penalty against Chelsea made him the club's leading scorer in the Premier League with 26 goals.
"It's nice to have the record - I am very happy of course," Sigurdsson says.
"As a midfielder I am very pleased to have scored as many goals as I have.
"Hopefully I can get a few more before the end of the season and extend the gap (between him and 25-goal Wilfried Bony) a little bit.
"I got 11 goals last season and nine (seven of which were in the league) the year before that.
"If I can at least match that sort of tally in terms of goals scored this season, I think that will be good a return for me."
The first Swans goal, on that wintry afternoon at West Brom, gets a mention when Sigurdsson chooses his best strikes for the club.
Also right up there is the winner against Manchester United on his second debut for the Swans following his permanent move from Tottenham Hotspur, plus a long-range effort at Wigan Athletic back in 2012.
"The first one that comes into my mind is the free-kick at home against Arsenal," he says.
"Wigan away was a nice goal, but the ones against big teams, and especially Manchester United at Old Trafford, are special for me."
Sigurdsson's record with the Swans - he scores almost once every three games on average - suggests it will not be long before he is celebrating another memorable strike.
And all being well, he will be wearing the white jersey for a while yet.
Just 27, Sigurdsson recently signed a new four-year deal which ties him to the club until 2020.
"I am very happy here, otherwise I wouldn't have signed the new contract," he says.
"We had a tough season last year, but we are determined to have a better season this year.
"All the games are very tough, but I think we have got the qualities to play better football on a consistent basis - or at least more than we did last season.
"It's been a mixed start to the season but, if we can get through the next few games with a couple of wins, we will be very pleased and looking forward to the Christmas period."