Ferdinand explains why he thinks Victor Lindelof is a different player for Sweden

Victor Lindelof kicked off his Euro 2020 campaign with a man of the match display for Sweden against Spain last night.

The Swedes had to endure a lot of pressure on a sweltering night in Seville, but Lindelof marshalled the defence to a clean sheet.

Speaking on BBC’s coverage of the game (13 mins), former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said he thinks Lindelof is a different player for his country.

He believes Lindelof thrives on being the main man in his country’s back four and that international football suits him more.

Aitor Alcalde – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

When host Gary Lineker put it to Ferdinand that Lindelof seems to bring out his very best form for his country, the former United defender said: “His game suits the international game a lot better.

“The Premier League’s very quick – the physicality as well. This is more of a thinking defender’s game when you play international football.

“That definitely suits him, he’s someone who likes to read and cover. And with this team, he seems like he’s the main man in that backline.

“He’s taken on that responsibility, he’s warmed to that. That suits him. You can see him, when he plays in that yellow shirt for Sweden, he seems a very different player to what I see at Manchester United.”

Photo by Aitor Alcalde – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Lindelof the leader for Sweden

As Ferdinand eluded to, sometimes Lindelof can be caught out by the pace and physicality of English football.

Last night, he was able to defend the penalty box and Sweden’s tactics left no space in behind him to exploit.

Lindelof is the senior man and the organiser at international level. At United, that’s Harry Maguire’s job.

It would be a surprise if Sweden made a major splash this summer but last night’s draw has given them a potential springboard to get out of the group and Lindelof’s performance was a huge factor in that.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.