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13.02.2014, 10:27
"My time will come," says Maria Adler
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FEATURE: The 21-year-old Swedish left back throws off the new series, 'The rising stars of women's handball', putting players in the spotlight that are likely to take centre stage at the Women's EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia
 

"My time will come," says Maria Adler

European handball fans who might not have heard of Maria Adler yet, will soon surely have – and in Sweden and Denmark, the 1,83m tall left back is well known already.

When Danish club HC Odense signed the 21-year-old Swedish international last summer, head coach Flemming Larsen characterised her as a player with "great potential and an enormous physical strength".

"Furthermore, she possesses a fantastic training morale, great winner mentality and a lot of spirit," he said.

So far, those qualities have made Adler one of the key players in the Odense team and earned her six internationals for Sweden, on top of a lot of appearances in the Swedish youth national teams.

She started playing at an early age, but it took her some time to realise that handball was her game.

"I started playing handball when I was eight years old, but I also played indoor bandy and a bit of football, and I continued with indoor bandy along with handball until I was 15," Adler told ehf-euro.com.

But eventually handball became the sport Adler chose to go all out for. "I realised that handball was probably what I was best at," she says. And so far she has had no reason to regret her choice.

After having played for Swedish side Lugi for a number of years, including the very successful 2010/11 season in which her club reached the semi-final of the Cup Winners' Cup and Adler scored 41 goals along the way, that decision earned her a contract in the strong Danish league this summer.

And last spring it had already earned her the debut in the Swedish national team in a friendly against Iceland – a debut which has since been followed by another five appearances.

A big change

The current season is her first outside of Sweden, and she admits that the change from Lugi HF to HC Odense was a big step for her.

"It has really been a big change. The level in the Danish league is so much higher than in the Swedish league, and the pace and the intensity is so much higher.

"Even if you meet a team from the bottom of the table, you are challenged all the time, and you cannot relax for a second.

"This has made me develop a lot. I have added a lot of speed to my way of playing, and I have learned to 'shave' my game.

"With this I mean that in the Swedish league you could for instance get away with a poor shot every now and then. You cannot afford that in Denmark, so I have really learned to focus on my shots and to stay concentrated," she explains.

"I have also benefitted from this in the national team, as it was really a new experience to go from playing in all the youth teams to the senior team.

"There you really get to play with the physically strong ladies," Maria Adler says.

Catching the attention of the new national coach

Recently, Sweden got a new national coach as assistant coach Thomas Sivertsson took over when Torbjörn Klingvall stepped down.

And so far, Maria Adler has got a positive impression of the new boss, but still she does not dare to dream of being nominated for the next EHF EURO 2014 qualifiers at the end of March, when Sweden are in for a double header against World Championship 2013 finalists Serbia.

"Thomas Sivertsson was here in Odense for our recent home game against Hypo (Niederösterreich) in the Cup Winners' Cup, but we talked more about my game in general and not so much about the near future.

"However, the fact that he came over here to see me play indicates to me that he has a certain interest in me," says Mara Adler who is in no hurry to get her ambitions fulfilled.

"My ambition is to become a strong player in the Danish league, and in the course of time to establish myself in the Swedish national team, but I definitely do not expect to become a key player in the national team right away," she says.


This is the first part of a new series powered by eurohandball.com and ehf-euro.com. In the weeks to come we will throw the spotlight on the many young female handball talents all around Europe that are likely to make an impact on the international stage in the months and years to come.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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