Williot Swedberg is an 18 year old Swedish attacker who currently plays for Hammarby IF in the Allsvenskan. He generally plays left wing in a 4-3-3 but is comfortable as an attacking midfielder as well as having experience as a centre midfielder when first breaking through. Swedberg came through Hammarby’s academy which he joined in 2011. During this period he had a trial with Tottenham Hotspur in 2019 and has been on loan to two clubs which have ties with Hammarby, IK Frej (2020) and Hammarby TFF (2021). He scored just two minutes into his league debut for Hammarby when he came on as a 79th minute substitute in a 5-1 home win against Degerfors IF. He also made an assist in this short cameo. This was back on the 11th of July 2021 and he has been linked with moves away ever since. Back then, it was Brondby IF and FC Midtjylland who were supposedly interested. As recently as February it was said he had all but signed for Lokomotiv Moscow before the deal fell through due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More glamorously, it has been reported that both Barcelona and Manchester United have sent scouts to watch him play. With such big names sniffing around, you can be sure the boy has got something about him.
I believe Swedberg has many similarities with Thomas Muller, his physique is one such likeness. They both stand at around 6 foot tall and, while durable, have a slight build. This strength he has is put to good use as it helps him shrug off challenges well and he is rarely bullied off the ball. Despite not being that tall or having a huge frame to help hold off opponents, Swedberg is decent in the air and has scored headers before. That being said, a lot of his success here is down to his excellent movement.
The other aspect of physicality is, of course, his speed. Not only is the young Swede quick, but he also has the stamina to maintain throughout the course of a match. This is part of what makes him such an excellent presser. He presses intelligently and effectively which increases the success rate and limits the potential for the opposition to exploit his movement towards them. He initially positions himself in such a way to minimise the distance he must close down and then sprints as soon as the ball is played. Furthermore, he has no fear, like some players who stop once they reach the opponent, Swedberg is very comfortable to continue running almost “through” his opponent in order to regain possession.
The other part of what makes him such a good presser is his aforementioned movement. He interprets and manipulates space very well to take advantage of areas left vacated by the opposition. This is often done by dropping slightly deep and placing himself between the opposition’s defensive lines. His instincts when it comes to finding space is another likeness to Muller. He is very clever with his movement and will slow down in a counter attack or drift off to other areas of the pitch with the aim of making sure the defender forgets about him. He consistently makes blindsided runs of his defender and positions himself out of their eye line particularly when his teammate is building up to cross into the box. This allows him extra space and time to get on the end of the ball when it comes in.
Out of possession, Swedberg’s movement and willingness to track back is also a strength and something he appears to have significantly improved since first breaking through into the professional game. he seems to fully understand the way his manager wants him to react when the opposition have the ball and is willing to pretty consistently use that pace of his to aid his team’s defensive effort.
Swedberg is a truly excellent technician for his age. Seriously, some of his dribbling is unbelievable. He is predominantly right-footed but is comfortable using his left while dribbling to help him evade his opponent. As quick as his feet are, and they’re lightning, the speed of his thought process may be even more impressive. Often you get players with good feet who can’t quite think quickly enough to pull something off, or vice versa, but Swedberg has both. Some of the invention and creativity he possesses is a joy to watch.
One thing that is perhaps underrated about his game, is his vision for passing. This isn’t on display every match but he has shown great capacity to switch the play of thread a pass through for a teammate to have a 1v1 with the goalkeeper. This is yet another example of his speed of thought as the time he has to spot and execute on these opportunities are often very limited.
Tactically, Swedberg is very switched on. He regularly manipulates the space for the benefit of himself and his teammates. He stays high and wide in the build up to stretch the opposition’s defence. When the ball is on the far side, the youngster drifts in more centrally to maintain Hammarby’s goal threat in the middle of the pitch. This can result in dragging his marker which in turn opens up space on the wing for a teammate to exploit.
Swedberg has an extreme sense of calm when on the ball and appears unfazed no matter how close the opposition player closing him down gets. This gives him that extra little bit of time to execute his pass, shot or cross. This Ederson-esque coolness and comfort when under pressure is admirable and something that should be of great use to him when he faces more challenging opponents.
I have noted already that Swedberg is strong for his slight build, and this helps him ride challenges, however, there are occasions when he is fouled and brought down. When these do happen, he generally bounces straight back up and looks to either take a quick free kick or move into space. The most important aspect of this is that he never appears to be rattled by the opposition. He acts as though it never happened. This sort of mentality is a key indicator the young forward has the potential to go far in the game.
The one thing I would like to see him develop as he continues to progress on the mental side of the game is greater aggression in and around the box. He possesses a calmness and presence of mind which serves him well in that area, but I believe he would benefit from developing more of a killer instinct when balls come into the box. Currently, Swedberg gets himself in good areas and has the opportunity to score more goals, however, at times, it can look as though he just assumes he will get to the ball first so doesn’t rush. If he were to pounce more at these opportunities, I believe this would help add to his goal tally as the seasons continue
As said in the match report when I first wrote about him here , Williot Swedberg is a player with clear talent and one who I would expect to make the grade at a much better club in the future. That being said, I believe he would benefit from joining a non-elite club first and one that is probably not in the premier league either. The reason for this is I think he would struggle with the intensity initially of having such physically demanding games back-to-back. He spent a lot of time in Spain during his youth and I would not be surprised if he ends up at a La Liga club sooner rather than later and makes a success of it. In short, I think he has the capability to make it to the top but having a stepping stone club in between would probably be best for his development.