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Two football players tempted by coach


Lars Lagerback is truly unique — he must be the only successful national team coach in history who never played football professionally and never managed a professional club.

Son of a forester, he grew up in a northern part of Sweden and spent a few years on the bench at tiny Gimonas before taking on an administrative job at the club and working in the youth sector. Roy Hodgson and Bob Houghton, who arrived in Sweden in the s and brought revolutionary tactical ideas, had an immense influence on Lagerback while he undertook coaching studies in Stockholm, but he had to wait a long decade at lower-division teams like Arbra and Hudiksvalls — few Swedish fans even know much about them — before receiving a call from the FA.

Roy Hodgson, Swedish icon.

Good interpersonal skills and a readiness to work in a team were crucial for everything he did. Lagerback was named Tommy Soderberg's assistant for the national team inbut soon became a joint-coach in a tandem. Lagerback was 42 already when he started his career with Sweden 's under team, and his progress was slow but steady.

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