It must bring warmth to any family’s heart to see one of their own make it as a professional footballer. And in the case of Alex Timossi Andersson, his Liverpool-supporting relatives will have dreamed of the day he would score in the presence of Steven Gerrard.
But when the dream became reality last week it might have soured the experience that the 16-year-old did so when on trial for Manchester United.
The Swedish forward was invited to spend a week with the Red Devils after catching the eye in his homeland and being invited for a similar period by Bayern Munich earlier this season. After quickly making a name for himself as one of Scandinavia’s hottest young prospects, the Helsingborg youngster has been tracked by a number of the game’s biggest clubs.
And he was thrilled to have netted in front of the former Liverpool midfielder, now an academy coach for the Anfield side, in an Under-17 friendly match during his seven-day spell with United.
“I played a pass, made a run, and got it back, then I chipped the keeper,” Timossi Andersson explained to Helsingborgs Dagblad. “It was nice because it released the nervousness. Steven Gerrard was there, and I’m glad I scored the goal in front of him.
“United were very pleased, so we will see what happens. For me it’s a great lesson. I now know more about how it works in England and what is required at that level.”
The youngster, who made his senior debut in February in Helsingborg’s 3-0 Svenska Cupen loss to Brommapojkarna, has scintillating pace and a great first touch. They are qualities which have had agents raving about him in Swedish football circles, while his record of six goals in four games for the national under-17 side has also attracted acclaim.
Were he to be invited back by United, Timossi Andersson could end up following in the footsteps of former boss Henrik Larsson. The Sweden legend, who spent 10 weeks on loan at United in 2007, was coach of Helsingborg until the fallout from the club’s relegation in November 2016
Larsson is said to have helped developed the 16-year-old’s game, with his decision-making in particular being an area which saw great improvement during his time under the guidance of the 106-cap former striker.
Such is Helsingborg’s financial trouble at the moment they are expected to be open to offers for Timossi Andersson, which could well turn out to be good news for United if they make their move before any other interested party. However, if they are beaten to the punch then the Swedish side’s stricken state may work in the favour of a different buying club.
“He’s an exciting player who has had an eventful last year and it looks set to continue in the same way,” Larsson’s successor Peo Jung said of Timossi Andersson recently. “For us it is important that he finds a sense of what his future will look like. We know where we are.”
It just remains to be seen now whether United see the youngster’s future with them at Old Trafford. If they do, then his family might have to consider changing their long-held allegiances.