Being the son of one of your country’s most legendary footballers may come with a lot of expectation but for Noah Alexandersson, he’s never wanted anything else than to follow in his father’s footsteps and he is already making progress on that dream.
“For as long as I can remember, becoming a professional footballer like my dad has always been one of my biggest dreams,” he says. “Achieving the things he did and play those types of games is very inspiring for me and something I see as a fun challenge.
“I know the way there is really tough and requires lots of hard work but surely it’s the dream to follow my dad’s footsteps.”
Noah is the son of former Sheffield Wednesday and Everton winger Niclas, Sweden’s ninth-most capped player of all time with 109 caps earnt in a fifteen year career with the national team. He joined the Owls in 1997 after spells with his local club Halmstads BK, where he won the Swedish Cup, and IFK Göteborg who he won the top flight title with in 1996. He went on to make over 150 appearances in English football, which also included a loan spell with West Ham, and featured in four major tournaments for the national team.
It was during his time playing for Everton that Noah was born in Warrington and he would go on to spend his first three years in England before his father rejoined Göteborg in 2004.
“I was born in Warrington 2001 and lived there for almost three years after moving back home to Sweden in 2004. My memories of my childhood in England are quite poor because of my young age at that time but I can look back at pictures and get some flashbacks but not much more.
“We have of course been back to England a couple of times and met some old friends and watched some games.”
The young midfielder has been living in Sweden ever since. He grew up playing for Västra Frölunda, a former top flight side, before moving to his father’s former side IFK Göteborg last year. His talent has been recognised from a young age.
“I decided to join Göteborg last winter but before that I played for a team called Västra Frölunda. Quite a small team, it was in the top league in Sweden for about twenty years ago but is now a fifth-tier team.
“I played there for about ten years and I think it has been developing for me as a player at Frölunda. I made my first team debut at the age of fourteen and got lot of senior team experience from that.
“I got the chance to develop at my own pace without any pressure from anyone and got to play football with my best friends.
“We were a very strong team and we could match all of the academies in Sweden in our age-group so my years there were brilliant.”
Now with the academy of a top-flight side, the 17-year-old has already made an impression. Last year he was between the under-19 and under-21 sides who play in the U19 Allsvenskan and U21 Allsvenskan respectively, the top level at each age group. He made a instant impact for the under-21 side last year, scoring three times in two appearances off the bench. Despite the flying start, he admits it was a step-up for him from the lower age groups.
“The under-21 league is for players without gametime from the senior squad and young players from the under-19s to get them some tougher and more experienced players to go up against. However, it’s a step up from the under-19 games and especially in the beginning, it went a bit faster and was more physical but after every game, I felt I grew into it more and more and could start making impacts to games and play my game.
“The youth teams and leagues in Sweden are actually really good, maybe not in comparison to England or Spain and so on, but it’s still a good place to educate yourself as a player and is a good first step.”
Of course the midfielder is still only 17 so to have experienced the under-21 league already is impressive but he has his sights set even higher for 2019. IFK Göteborg have won the Swedish top-flight 13 times and have finished as runners-up twice in the past five years but despite that, they managed only an 11th place finish in the 16-team league last season. That means the side could be looking for a new spark this year, which Alexandersson could perhaps provide and he made his debut for the first team in a friendly earlier this year.
“My goals for this season are to keep improving and building up my physicality even more and to come close to game time with the first team and later on maybe getting some minutes by the second half of the season.
“If I keep working hard and keep performing I hope my chance will come sooner rather than later but it’s still the coach deciding that.
“It’s not impossible though!”
With his talent being noticeable from such a young age, it’s no surprise the young midfielder has been interesting the national team and he has been involved at under-15, under-16 and under-17 level for Sweden. Having been born in Warrington though, it means there could be the future possibility that he could play for England, although he says that seems an unlikely scenario now.
“I actually played England a couple of months ago with the national team [a 4-0 win for England at St George’s Park in October] but no not really [a possibility]. I feel myself as a Swede and lived here most of my time and I haven’t really known that if it has been an possibility for me representing England because I only have a Swedish passport.
“England is a huge football country and it would be one of the hardest things to do to break into an English national team. Sweden is my home country so I think I will stick to that, however, you never know what happens so you’ll maybe see me in an English shirt in the future!” he laughs.
With the youth leagues already back underway for the 2019 season in Sweden and the senior top-flight starting at the end of the month, Alexandersson has a lot to focus on going into his second season with Göteborg but it is only fair to afford him a glimpse further into the future where he has his eye on another of his father’s achievements.
“The Premier League is the biggest league in the world and my favorite one as well so playing there would be a massive dream. Absolutely no doubt about that!”
He may well have spent the vast majority of his life in Sweden but with his early years spent in England and his father’s many appearances in the country as well, there may well be a chance his playing style has been affected by his country of birth and a tug-of-war for his international future does not seem like the wildest possibility.