Johan is understandably excited about the latest developments. “I made my debut in the Swedish national team. A real honour! I was able to play the last 22 minutes against Greece, in Marcus Allbäck’s position. I formed a two-man attack together with Zlatan of Ajax and it went fairly well. And everyone was satisfied at the end, including the coach. So I’m really quite proud that I’ve now played for Sweden. The only thing I found a pity about the game was that I wasn’t able to play alongside Allbäck. We know each other inside out from our time at Örgryte and we could have been dangerous together. The chemistry was (still) missing with Zlatan. But coach Lagerbäck was satisfied and I can now quietly hope for a place in the World Cup squad.
“My debut was even more striking, because I haven’t exactly been motoring at Feyenoord these past few weeks. Normally I don’t think I would have been called up, but we were missing Larsson, Alexandersson, Mallberg and Ljungberg, usually certainties in the squad. I was able to profit from their absence and I hope I’ll be invited along more often.
“The most important condition is that I regain my form for Feyenoord. I don’t why things have tailed off these past few weeks. I was feeling great on Gran Canaria. Ups and downs are all part of the game of course, I know that, but I don’t feel 100% physically either. The only thing you can do is train extra and make sure you don’t lose your self-confidence.
“My first team place is not as certain as it was. Logically. I’ll just have to work harder and prove myself. I also have to be more aware on the park, ask for the ball more. Playing the long ball doesn’t suit me, but you have to make sure there’s an alternative… by being available. That’s what the trainer demands of us, and that we all coach each other.
“I’m now looking forward to the game against Rangers. Those ones are the big games. My feeling is that we have a good chance of winning there, if we survive the initial storm. I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling I have. If we win or draw there, we should be able to finish it off at home. The supporters will make sure of that!”