INTERVIEW: IFK Kristianstad’s 18-year-old right wing Valter Chrintz was surprised to be nominated for Sweden in the upcoming EHF EURO Cup, and he prefers to keep his feet on the ground.
Chrintz: “I am just a young guy who likes to play handball”
Considering Valter Chrintz’s performances for IFK Kristianstad this season, especially in the VELUX EHF Champions League, it might not come as a surprise that he was nominated for the Swedish national team for the upcoming Scandinavian derbies against Norway in the Men’s EHF EURO CUP 2020.
“I was happy but surprised as I got the call from national coach Kristjan Andresson, telling me that I had been nominated.
“I was not expecting that call, not yet at least, but it meant a lot to me. It is fantastic for play for Sweden, to have the Swedish logo on your chest, and the fact that Norway is the opponent just makes it even cooler,” says the 18-year-old right wing who stunned great parts of the European handball scene time after time in the top flight this season.
His club IFK Kristianstad did not make the cut for the knockout phase, but with his 46 goals, many of which were very spectacular, Chrintz stood out and he is particularly happy to have experienced these matches as he stands on the verge of making his national team debut.
“There are many fine right wings in the Swedish league and some who are better than me, but I am sure that the experience I gained in the Champions League will come in useful for Sweden.
“In general, playing the Champions League has meant a lot to my development as a player. I can feel that very clearly,” says Valter Chrintz.
Nothing to lose
What has impressed people in particular about young Chrintz is his coolness in critical situations.
This quality was probably demonstrated most clearly as he scored the winning goal with seconds remaining away against Montpellier HB in November.
That was his eighth goal from eight attempts in the 31:30 victory.
“I simply do think so much about these things and I am probably not overly impressed by playing against some of the best players in the world.
“I feel I have nothing to lose in these situations.
“I am just a young guy who likes to play handball and I simply try to do my best every time I play,” says the new national team player, to whom that deciding moment in Montpellier was something special.
“Yes, that was the greatest moment of my career so far.
“It was just so fantastic and so unexpected, so that is definitely something I remember,” he says.
Looking forward to playing with Kim Andersson
When entering the national team, one of the players he is looking particularly forward to playing with is Kim Andersson.
The legendary right back, who is exactly twice as old as Chrintz, made yet another comeback for Sweden at the World Championship in Denmark and Germany back in January, and he is still playing for Tre Kronor.
“I feel I can learn a lot from Kim – his calmness, his experience, his eye for the game, his fantastic passes, from which I also expect to benefit when playing with him,” says Valter Chrintz.
Gensheimer and Cupic are the idols
Although it takes a lot to impress him in terms of the stars he has been up against in Europe and will meet in the national team, he stills has a few idols, whom he would like to take after and it comes as no surprise that they are both wings.
“I look up to a player like Uwe Gensheimer and the way he does things. He is really good, I think, and I am also impressed by Ivan Cupic at Vardar.
“He may not be one of the tallest, even among wings, but he is an extremely elegant player,” finds the 1.85 metre-tall Chrintz.
Dreaming of the Bundesliga or Barca
Despite being Swedish champions four years in a row, Kristianstad tend to lose many of their best players to higher ranking foreign clubs every year and it is no wonder that several top clubs around Europe have already cast an eye on Valter Chrintz.
So far, he is taking the foreign interest lightly, though.
“For the time being, I focus on developing and improving here in Kristianstad, but sometime in the future, I would obviously like to play for a stronger club outside Sweden.
“I like the Bundesliga very much, but after playing Barcelona twice with Kristianstad in the Champions League, I have also come to see them as a fantastic team, where it might be great to play, but for now, I am in no hurry.”
TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
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