Following in the footsteps of your father is always tough for any young player, especially when they’re a legend. But Jordan Larsson is starting to make a name for himself.
Jordan Larsson’s father, Henrik Larsson, is an icon of Swedish football. He won 106 caps for his country scoring 37 times . At club level his record is even better. The four-time Swedish Player of the Year scored 434 goals during his 18 year career which saw him win a host of trophies.
Now it’s Jordan Larsson’s time to shine. Much like his father did in 2000, 2004 and 2008 by representing Sweden at a European Championship.
When Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced he would be coming out of international retirement Larsson’s chances of making the Euors squad diminished. But with the 39-year-old ruled out through injury Larsson was recalled to squad by Janna Andersson off the back of his fantastic season in Russia.
Humble beginnings and big expectations
Jordan Larsson was born in Rotterdam whilst his father Henrik played for Feyenoord. Growing up he moved around spending time in Scotland and Spain before settling in Helsingborg.
Whist in Spain he spent two years training at La Masia between 2004 and 2006 whilst his dad played for Barcelona.
Larsson started his senior career at fourth division Högaborgs BK, the same team his father started at 23 years previously. On 19 June 2013 in a match against Tenhults IF, 15-year-old Larsson played alongside a 41-year-old Henrik Larsson, who was making a comeback due to an injury crisis at the club.
During his three seasons at Högaborgs he played 43 games and scored 12 goals drew the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. In the end he waved of interest from Manchester United to join his come cities big club, Helsingborg IF.
Not only had he replicated the same exact move his father made in his early career but he would be joined by Henrik who was appointed manager in for the 2015 season.
He remained at Die Röe for three seasons scoring 18 goals in 73 games across all competitions.
But his time at the club came to an end after Larsson and his father were rushed by a group of hooligans following Helsingborgs relegation to Superettan.
In the aftermath of the incident Henrik resigned as manager and Jordan was transferred to NEC Nijmegen halfway through the Eredivisie season.
He would again taste relegation in the Netherlands and returned to Sweden following a season in the Erste Divisie.
In his first season at IFK Norrköping Larsson struggled. He scored just once in 26 league games. But it was in his second season that he found his scoring boots. 11 goals in 16 Allsvenskan games with another five in four cup games earned him a mid-season move to Spartak Moscow.
A man in form
After joining the capital club for a fee in the region of €4million he continued to score goals in Russia getting 10 in all competitions during his first season.
And Jordan Larsson has continued his good form in 20/21 too.
His 15 league goals makes him the second highest goal scorer in the Swedish squad. Only Alexander Isak (17 goals) has scored more.
Larsson also managed to outscore Swedish national team regular Marcus Berg in the Russian Premier League. The 34-year-old only netted nine goals for FC Krasnodar.
When looking at goal contributions Larsson tops the charts in the Swedish squad. For Spartak Moscow he has 20 league goal involvements (15 goals and 5 assists). That’s higher than Isak (19) at Real Sociedad, Emil Forsberg (12) at RB Leipzig and Dejan Kulusevski (7) at Juventus.
His expected assists of 6.67 suggests that he creates more chances that his team mates don’t finish. Larsson averages 0.57 key passes per 90 which is the fourth highest of any striker and the fourth best in the squad behind Kulusevski (0.88) Ken Sema (0.78) and Viktor Claesson (0.62).
He is also the most accurate progressive passer in the team with 88.76%. That number is much higher than other forwards Isak (68.66), Berg (67.19) and Robin Quaison (62.71).
With Janne Andersson preferring to play with a front two Larsson’s creative input could be fruitful for Sweden. In Russia this season his partnership with Alexander Sobolev has made a combined 38 goal contributions.
Impact from the bench
Despite his strong season Jordan Larsson failed to start for Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 game.
He was only named as a substitute in their two previous friendly games prior to the tournament too hinting at a reluctance by Andersson to deploy use the forward. Larsson was only given 23 minutes in a 2-0 victory over Finland and played no part against Armenia.
With Kulusevski forced miss Sweden’s opening game against Spain after testing positive for Covid 19 Larsson could have been the perfect player to fill his void.
Instead Andersson opted for the more experienced Berg over talented the but inexperienced youngsters.
Sweden’s average age of 28.62 is the second oldest at Euro 2020. Only Belgium (28.73) have a marginally older squad than them.
With Sweden’s system replying on counter attacks Larsson’s pace could have injected much needed energy into a lumbering Swedish attack.
Larsson’s 3.45 attacking actions per 90, 1.35 Progressive runs per 90, 8.64 offensive duals per 90 were higher than both Berg and Quaison and is proof of what he could offer for Sweden in the rest of the tournament.
Last season Larsson outperformed his expected goals by 1.43. Berg underperformed by 3.14. It should be no surprise that it was Berg’s crucial miss that cost Sweden an upset victory in Seville.
Although Berg provided seven assists – two more than Larsson’s 5 – he has outperformed expected assists (3.46). This deficit means Berg is less creative than the stats suggest.
With teams being allowed to use five substitutes at the tournament Larsson still remains a solid option from the bench.
Six of Larsson’s 15 league goals this season have come in the last fifteen minutes of games, with two of those being late winners.
If given a chance to shine at the Euros this summer it could become a shop window for Larsson. He has already been linked with a move away from Spartak Moscow to German outfit Wolfsburg.
Regardless of his for Sweden this summer Larsson is still on course for a fine career.
These days he is no longer just Henrik Larsson’s son.
He is simply Jordan Larsson.
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