Completesportsnigeria.com brings you the lowdown on one of Iceland’s key men Gylfi Sigurdsson as we continue to focus the spotlight on Super Eagles Russia 2018 World Cup opponents…

GYLFI SIGURDSSON

Gylfi Sigurdsson is widely regarded as one of the best dead ball specialists in the English Premier League.

Sigurdsson made his senior international debut for Iceland in 2010 and has since earned 55 caps, scoring 18 goals. He represented Iceland at their first major tournament, UEFA Euro 2016, where his country reached the quarter-finals. He is undoubtedly the biggest sports star in Iceland at the moment.

Sigurdsson has been named Iceland Sportsperson of the Year on two occasions. He was first awarded the title in 2013, before making it a double in 2016 after helping his nation reach the quarter-finals in the European Championships for the very first time. He remains a contender for the next one considering his performance for his country during the Russia 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

BEST POSITION: Sigurdsson’s best position is mainly off the main striker with two holding midfielders behind him which gives him the freedom to operate freely and drive forward. But he has featured largely from the flanks for Everton since his £45m move from Swansea at the start of the season.

STRENGTHS: Set pieces are a big weapon for most teams in football today but with Sigurdsson in your team, you are guaranteed good delivery of the ball into the goal area. Sigurdsson is a dead ball specialist who also has an eye for goal. He also possesses the qualities of an archetypal No. 10, paired with an unusual physicality for the position. As a No.10, Sigurdsson makes great use of the space and he is also good at finishing from long distance. He can also assist with a pass. He scored eight goals and provided 13 assists last season as Swansea survived the drop.

WEAKNESSES: Defending is an asset it comes to Sigurdsson’s game and he rarely carves scoring chances from open play for his team to score goals.

STYLE: His impressive statistics from last season show he is a superb set-piece taker but his creative output is somewhat distorted by that fact. Sigurdsson possesses an exemplary threat from free-kicks or crosses within 25 to 30 yards of goal.

NATIONAL TEAM STATS: Sigurdsson has 55 caps, 23rd on the all-time appearance list, since his debut for Iceland in 2010, and has also scored 18 goals providing ten assists for the national team.

TESTIMONIALS:

“Together with Henrik Larsson, I would say that Gylfi is the best team player I’ve worked with,” Lagerback said of the man Everton paid £45 million for. “He always plays for the team and must be one of the best two-way midfield players out there.” — Lars Lagerback, Former Iceland team manager.

“Gylfi is just what you need when you need to change a game. You need a bit of genius. You need a bit of work from a player in the squad who can change a game and that’s what you get in him.” Sam Allardyce

“He’s a top player. He adds to the quality in any squad and that’s what you want in the player of his calibre. All-in-all he’s come in and contributes to the team and that’s what you want from a player like him.”—- Gary Monk former Swansea manager.

“I heard a lot of people say Gylfi is a 10, but he played most games last season on the left side at Swansea. They make stories out of nothing. Gylfi can play anywhere.” Former Everton manager Ronald Koeman.

QUESTION: Do you feel the Super Eagles midfield led by Mikel Obi can stop Sigurdsson from causing damage?

DID YOU KNOW?

—Iceland national team is coached by Dr. Heimir Hallgrimsson — who is literally a practicing dentist. Hallgrimsson, is the first Icelandic coach to earn an A license coaching badge.

—Iceland is the first country in World Cup history to have less than a million people and successfully qualify to compete on football’s biggest stage. Iceland’s population is a mere 334,252, with approximately one-third of the island’s people living in the capital of Reykjavik.

—Iceland’s current goalkeeper, Hannes Halldorsson, was a film director before he turned professional as a goalkeeper. He directed the video “Never Forget” a song by Icelandic singers Greta Salóme and Jónsi for Iceland’s entry to the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

​—Over the course of the last three English Premier League seasons, only four players have had more assists than Sigurdsson. Cesc Fabregas (37), Mesut Ozil (33), Christian Eriksen (32) Kevin De Bruyne (27)… and Sigurdsson (26).

​—Since he made his Premier League debut (2011), Gylfi Sigurdsson has scored more free-kick goals than any other player. The Icelandic international has scored seven goals from direct free-kicks in that period – one more than Robert Snodgrass, Eriksen and Juan Mata (all on six).

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