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02.03.2013, 09:00
The rising handball stars of 2013, part 8: Jim Gottfridsson
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The 20-year-old Swedish talent is full of confidence ahead of joining German top club, SG Flensburg-Handewitt
 

The rising handball stars of 2013, part 8: Jim Gottfridsson

Some might say that 20 years is a rather young age to start logging horns with a bunch of world stars in the strongest league in the world.

But Jim Gottfridsson, who has played handball since he was four years old and currently takes to the court for Swedish club Ystads IF, feels up to the challenge.

From the start of the 2013/14 season onwards the Swedish talent will play for current German VELUX EHF Champions League participant, SG Flensburg-Handewitt.

It is understood that Gottfridsson has been on the German top club’s talent scouts’ list for a longer time and that the club would have liked to sign the 1,89m tall middle back already for the start of this season, but Flensburg’s Swedish coach, Ljubomir Vranjes, will have to wait for a few more months until Gottfridsson joins his team.

However, Gottfridsson is confident that the step into what is arguably the strongest handball league in the world does not come too early for him.

 “I will be getting a coach in Flensburg who believes in me, and even though the competition will be tough, I expect some time on the court from the start.

“I am not joining Flensburg just to watch the Bundesliga matches from the bench,” he tells eurohandball.com.

Despite his young age, there have been several great moments in his career already.

“One of my greatest highlights so far was probably the (2011) Youth World Championship in Argentina where we finished third after have been very close to reaching the final, and I was awarded Most Valuable Player.

“However, my debut in the national team (on 1 November 2012 in the EHF EURO 2014 qualification match against Ukraine) and my contract with Flensburg have also been great achievements.”

So far he has played two internationals for Sweden, both in this season, but he feels far from being 100 per cent sure that he will a regular in the national team in near future.

“I do not call myself a national team player yet, but I focus on performing that well that I will be in the squad for the EHF EURO qualification matches against Poland in April.

“When it comes to the European Championship next year, I will have half a season in Flensburg under my belt, and hopefully I will have played that much in the Bundesliga by then that I will be a candidate for the Swedish squad for that tournament.

“Playing a European Championship in a neighbouring country would be just great for me,” says Jim Gottfridsson.

The 20-year-old has a fine teacher on the middle back position in Ystad as he plays together with former Swedish national team player, Sebastian Seifert.

“Of course I have learned a lot from Sebastian who has a lot of experience, not only from the national team, but also from his many years in the Danish league and in Germany, too.

“However, my idol among handball players is Stefan Lövgren. He simply mastered all aspects of the game,” said Gottfridsson who is quite modest when asked about his own strengths.

“I am not the kind of guy who goes around and pats myself on the shoulder, but if I am to mention a few strong sides, I would say my ability to read the game and the fact that I can play at both ends of the court, in the defence as well as in the attack.

“That is a quality which is much sought after in modern handball.

“When it comes to my weaknesses – we all have weaknesses, I suppose, but in my case, it is probably my speed.

“I am not as explosive as I would like to be,” Jim Gottfridsson says.

Photos: Courtesy of the Swedish Handball Federation


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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