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‘Getting Personal’ with Markus Olsson

26 January 2015

Markus Olsson is the next player in the hot-seat for our new feature where we get to know the person behind the player...

What’s your earliest memory?

Growing up in the north of Sweden, in a town called Gävle, and I remember there was a lot of snow! 

What sort of child were you?

Active. Very active, up to no good and noisy. That’s how people described me and my brother when we were young.

What are you best at outside of football?

I think I’m quite good at tennis. In my family, it gets quite competitive when we play tennis. It’s something my family members are quite interested in. I’d also say I’m very good at FIFA. And I enjoy dancing. It’s good fun, especially when you are up against someone else! 

What would you like to be better at?

Cooking. I enjoy cooking, I do it a lot and I always want to learn something new. That’s something I would like to get better at – to improve my skills in the kitchen! 

Tell us a secret about yourself?

Grant Hanley: “He once got his orthotic insoles made, because he had bad ankles, and then two weeks later he came in and complained that he had sore knees. Dave Fevre asked if he had been wearing his orthotics and he said that he’d worn the same boots for two weeks without changing them. Turns out he had them in the wrong feet!” 

Markus: “That’s a little secret that I try to keep on the down low!”  

What is your most treasured possession?

I would say Ryan Giggs’ match shirt. I got it after the game when we played them at home and he’s probably the player that I looked up to the most when I was younger. It felt a bit unreal when I got it, so that’s definitely something I will keep hold of for a long time.

Who is the biggest star name in your phone book?

Dirk Nowitzki. He’s my brother-in-law and he’s a big name everywhere. He plays in the NBA for Dallas Mavericks and he’s in the top seven all-time scorers in the league. He’s a good guy and very down to earth.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

There was one moment when I was making my debut in the Swedish Premier League when I was 18. I was on the bench and just as I went to take off my tracksuit bottoms to go and warm up, I realised I only had my slips on! So I had to go back to the bench to put my shorts on and then I did my warm up. I think I got on the pitch about two minutes after that.



Who do you most admire?

I’m a family guy. My family means a lot to me, so they are the ones I look up to. We’re always there for each other and look out for each other and give each other advice, and that’s always been the case since I was young. We’ve always been very close.

Your room, your football boots and your car – which do you clean first?

My room first, because we’re quite spoilt to have H (Harry Kenyon) and Carl (Brighty) who do our boots. It’s something that I would definitely do on my own, but they do it for us and I appreciate that. And then probably car last, especially now that the weather’s bad, there’s no point in having my car cleaned. 

Could you survive in the wild on your own?

I don’t know, I’m very scared of insects! I’m very scared of spiders and I’ve had some of the boys here try to play practical jokes on me, putting spiders in my wash bag and I freak out very easily when it comes to that and it’s happened to me twice already! So if there were any insects in the woods, I probably wouldn’t last very long!  

What kind of people do you dislike?

Arrogant people. People that look down on others, I don’t like that.

What makes you angry?

Losing. And having to go in the middle and getting megged when we do boxes in training. Some of the lads make a bit of extra noise when that happens – that gets me angry!

How many close friends do you have?

I would say three or four close friends, from back home in Sweden. 



What is the funniest thing that you have seen recently?

Willo (Lee Williamson) showed me a clip of an African man that was at the airport and he lied about his age. He said he was 15, but he looked like 45! That cracked me up!

What is the worst/best decision you have ever made?

There are some things that I regret from when I was younger, but I think when you do things that you regret, you learn from your mistakes, so I don’t really see it as a bad thing. The best decision I ever made is probably staying here and getting a long run in the team and showing the fans what I can do. I’m glad I didn’t leave in the way I could have left, after just a few games, and it feels good now that I’m showing that I can do well.  

What has been your most bizarre life experience?

When I was younger, I was walking to training with my brother and I saw a black cat with three eyes! It was dark outside, but I saw that it had three yellow eyes! Nobody believes me when I say it! It was very bizarre. 

What are three things that you would like to do before you die?

Play in a major tournament – either a Euros or a World Cup. Do a sky-dive. And …

What team(s) do you support outside of football?

I supported Manchester United, especially when I was younger, but now it’s a bit different. I watch the NBA and follow Dirk’s team (Dallas Mavericks) because he’s family, so I try to follow as many games as I can.  

Are you an animal person? Do you have any pets?

I don’t have any pets, but I had one when I was younger. We had a cat, but it was psycho! It was very crazy! He used to attack us for no reason, so we got rid of him! Actually, I think he might have run away, but he was too aggressive anyway!

What last kept you awake at night?

There’s a new series that I’ve just started watching called The Blacklist and I’ll watch a couple of episodes and sometimes I can’t stop watching it. I’ll say one more, but then I’ll end up watching three more!

What film, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on?

There’s a few that I can watch over and over. Scarface I can watch, even though I don’t know how many times I’ve seen that one! Goodfellas is one of my favourite movies as well. Gladiator.,Dumb and Dumber – that’s a classic! It actually makes me laugh even more every time I see it! Ace Ventura as well.  

Tell me about the last time a team-mate got angry with you. What happened?

Probably Grant Hanley. He tried to have a go at me after a game a couple of weeks ago, but what was said will stay in the dressing room! It’s good to argue sometimes, that’s football. 



What business would you love to start?

A restaurant probably. My brother and I have been having a few talks with someone who knows the restaurant business about opening one in Stockholm, but that’s something that will hopefully come later on. 

Did you have any other jobs when you were younger?

Yes, me and my brother did loads of jobs together. Every summer, we worked at a youth club. We had to clean up in the back and lift crates, but most of the time we were out playing pool and PlayStation when they weren’t looking, and still got full pay! We also worked at Subway when we were about 14, making sandwiches and also selling them in local football stadiums.   

Could you find your way around a foreign country using just a map?

Yes, I think I’m good when it comes to maps, so I think I’d be okay. 

What are you most proud of?  

Playing in the Premier League, because there’s not many players who go from the Swedish League to the Premier League, so that’s something I’m proud of and it was a very good experience. And, of course, my call-up to the Swedish national team I’m very proud of too, because everybody wants to play for their country. It’s a nice feeling and hopefully I can get more call-ups. It’s been a while, but I’m not giving up yet!

What is your idea of fun? If given a chance to skip training for a day, how would you spend your day off?

I like to relax and take it easy. Maybe take a walk through town, go for lunch, cinema, just a nice relaxed day off. 

What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?

Crocodile. The first time I tried it was in Dallas in America. It was different, but tasted quite good actually. Snail as well, when I was in Paris not too long ago. It also tasted very good actually!

If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be and why?

Driving in the morning, because there’s always bad traffic, school buses everywhere, kids running over the street where I live, so sometimes I’m in the same spot for 20 minutes because of the traffic. That’s why I enjoy driving in during the school holidays or at weekends.  

What's the one thing you can't live without?

Family and friends.



Would you rather...

... skip Christmas for a year or skip your birthday for a year?

My birthday.

... live without your computer/laptop or your television for the rest of your life?

Computer.

... be able to fly whenever you want or be invisible?

Be invisible.

... have a beautiful house and ugly car or ugly house and beautiful car?

Beautiful house, ugly car.

... visit the world 1,000 years into the past or 1,000 years into the future?

I’ll take the future.

... be rich and ugly or poor and good looking?

Rich and ugly.

... go sky-diving or deep-sea diving?

Sky-diving.

... have a chef or a cleaner?

Have a chef.

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