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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Who is Football Manager 2023 wonderkid Andreas Schjelderup?

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Every Football Manager cycle comes with that one wonderkid who you always sign, regardless of the club you’re working with.

In recent years, we’ve had the likes of Erling Haaland, Karim Adeyemi and Benjamin Sesko, but 2023’s instalment has brought us away from the Red Bull talent factory and over to Norway for a closer look at Nordsjaelland winger Andreas Schjelderup.

Now a household name – assuming that household has access to FM23 – Schjelderup’s stock is rising with each passing day, with the MoM awards racking up one after another in virtual leagues across the globe.

Here’s all there is to know about Schjelderup.

Born in Bodo, Norway, Schjelderup’s career began close to home in the youth ranks of Bodo/Glimt. His performances at youth level attracted interest from across Europe but he opted to take his talents to Nordsjaelland instead, arguing that it was too soon for him to make a big move overseas.

A slow start to life at his new club saw Schjelderup remain with the Under-19 setup for the majority of his first season, but towards the end of the 2020/21 season, he was promoted to the seniors and made an impact with three goals in the team’s final two games of the campaign – becoming the youngest scorer in team history and the fourth-youngest in the league’s record books.

2021/22 yielded three goals in 19 games, but his breakout year came in the following season with ten goals in 17 outings before the winter break.

Internationally, Schjelderup is still waiting for his first senior call-up to the Norway squad but has featured for his country from Under-15 to Under-21 level.

Despite comparisons to Haaland, which appear born out of both Football Manager and their shared Norwegian roots, Schjelderup is a completely different player.

Instead, the teenager is a high-volume dribbler who does his best work on the wing, beating defenders and trying to score goals.

Schjelderup has openly admitted that his favourite player to watch is Neymar, and comparisons between the two make some sense. Both are happiest with the ball at their feet and thrive off beating defenders and scoring goals. Some have also seen signs of prime Eden Hazard in his game.

Keen to give himself as much space as possible, Schjelderup enjoys hugging the touchline to drag defenders out to him, both to help him dribble but also to create space for his teammates.

On the ball, Schjelderup using his fast footwork, explosive agility and long frame to mask the fact he is not the fastest sprinter, and defenders regularly struggle to keep up with the winger once he really gets going.

You’ll often see Schjelderup cut inside from the left wing, allowing him to get among the action in the box on his stronger right foot – it gives off real Arjen Robben vibes – but he’s also regularly seen floating around in search of possession, waiting for the chance to create his own shot.

While Schjelderup isn’t the perfect player by any means, it’s tough to find too many holes in his game. He knows what he’s good at and really does maximise that.

If there are any complaints, they are often to do with his limited assist numbers. Schjelderup is a score-first winger, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, questions have been asked over his ability to find a Plan B if things aren’t going his way.

There are also doubts over his defensive ability, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a young winger.

Schjelderup turned down the chance to join a number of European heavyweights earlier in his career, including favourite club Liverpool.

“I visited Ajax four times, PSV four times, Tottenham, Liverpool, Juventus, Fulham, Atalanta and Bayern Munich,” he explained. “It was very tempting with clubs from Italy, England and Spain. I’m a Liverpool fan myself, but I kind of didn’t want to be one of the crowd. There is a long way to go to get into the first team at these clubs.”

The Norwegian later explained to Goal that his determination to play first-team football was behind his decision to snub Liverpool.

“Of course, it was a bit hard (turning down Liverpool), because when you grow up, you watch the big names and then you hear that they want you, so your head starts to spin,” he said.

“But I got a lot of help from my father and agents, who helped me make the right decision. It felt like this step in the ocean was the right one for me. I was in the Under-19s team when I got started, but I knew when I was ready that I could take a step up to the first team.”

Now linked with that sort of calibre of club once again, Schjelderup told NRK: “The dream is La Liga or the Premier League.”

Schjelderup has a unique secret weapon – some VR goggles.

“I have a pair of VR glasses with two controllers, and with them I can play a game that focuses on orientation and cognitive training,” Schjelderup explained.

“Then you enter a FIFA world in a way, only with slightly worse graphics, and you can then try out real situations from matches in the Champions League. You are a player and can make different choices with the ball, using the controls to choose whether to cross or shoot.”

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve already come across Schjelderup on FM23.

The 18-year-old starts out with a respectable current ability of 134 and has a fixed potential of 160 – good enough to make him one of the game’s top forwards.

However, most users have reported results from Schjelderup that exceed his stats. With 16 for dribbling, movement, passing and vision, he’s already operating at an elite level and his 13 finishing is good enough to make a real impact.

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