Sheffield United's World Cup and Euros star likens The Blades to a nation
Robin Olsen is looking forward to becoming part of the Sheffield United family after drawing comparisons between the dressing room culture at Bramall Lane and the one which helped Sweden reach the quarter-finals of the last World Cup.
The goalkeeper, who has been capped 50 times by his country, is set to make his second appearance since arriving on loan from AS Roma when Slavisa Jokanovic’s side visit Hull City today.
Despite spending less than a week in South Yorkshire, Olsen admitted he has already been impressed by the atmosphere behind the scenes at United.
Predicting the camaraderie which exists between Jokanovic’s players can help them challenge for promotion despite making a chequered start to the new Championship campaign, the 31-year-old admitted it is more the his liking than the environment he encountered after moving to Italy three seasons ago.
“I could see the strength of the dressing room from the first day, because the players were hanging out after the sessions and having a coffee,” Olsen said. “I am looking forward to being a part of that with them. I am not used to that after my time in Italy.
“I see the same things here as in the national team. That makes the group stronger.”
Olsen made his debut for United during Tuesday’s draw with Preston North End, after being cleared to leave quarantine having represented Janne Andersson’s side during the international break. Previously of Everton, PAOK and FC Copenhagen, Olsen adds a wealth of experience to Jokanovic’s squad. As well as starting Sweden’s match against England at the 2018 FIFA tournament in Russia, he featured in all four of their matches at this summer’s European Championships.
Speaking ahead of the trip to the MKM Stadium, where United hope to secure their second league win under Jokanovic, Olsen confirmed the opportunity to play in England again following his spell at Goodison Park last term convinced him to leave the Stadio Olympico.
“I’ve always looked at English football,” he said. “It has always been a dream for me to come to England and play here.”
“I think goalkeepers reach their peak in their early thirties,” Olsen added. “I didn’t pay so much last season. But I felt really well prepared for the Euros. I had an interview before them where I said I’m playing my best football.”
After drawing with Luton Town towards the end of last month and beating Peterborough 6-2 on their return to action, United surrendered two points during their meeting with North End when Frankie McAvoy’s team claimed a last gasp equaliser.
Although Olsen was powerless to prevent Emil Riis firing home at the death, he confessed to being disappointed with failure to stop Daniel Johnson cancelling out Morgan Gibbs-White’s opener. Sander Berge was also on target for United.
“It could have been a better start, I wasn’t happy with the first goal they scored,” Olsen said. “But I mean I have been here for a couple of days and it takes time. Hopefully we will grow pretty fast. I am just looking forward to the next game already.”