Kristoffer Peterson – “I’m not afraid to shine”

Posted on July 10, 2011 by

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Amidst the fury and confusion of this last January transfer window, Damien Comolli and Liverpool calmly and quietly completed the transfer of a little-known young Swedish forward named Kristoffer Peterson. None of the controversy and titillation of a £35million price-tag, but a signing which made excellent sense as part of Liverpool’s ongoing attempts to attract the hottest youth talents from all over Europe (see also: Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, for example) .

He had supposedly been courted by the likes of Fulham and Everton after impressive performances for the senior team of his boyhood club, Savedalens IF (with a record of just under a goal-per-game in his first two seasons). He had been most impressed, though, by what Liverpool had to offer. “I thought Liverpool had a great academy with top-class players, and I saw a future for myself at the club.”

‘Koffe,’ as he is affectionately known, idolises Cristiano Ronaldo, and of course meaningful comparisons at this stage are way beyond the realms of reality, but anyone who watches him can appreciate that they have a similar style of play.  He functions most effectively dropping off a main striker, or playing wide and cutting inside. He is fast, strong and technically gifted (you can watch a 14 year old Kristoffer Peterson showing off his silky skills here, and he will be in action for Liverpool U18s this season). He also has a keen eye for goal, as evidenced by his excellent scoring record.

But many talented young players never quite manage to make the grade at the top level of course. Initial promise can, for whatever reason, fade, and potential regularly goes unfulfilled. But you get the sense that that won’t happen with Peterson. Already an immensely mature young man, he is approachable, friendly and humble (just try sending him a message on Twitter), yet he retains an undeniable determination and a calm, unflinching confidence which seems likely to set him in good stead for the next few years of development.

When asked if he foresees a successful senior career with Liverpool, he replies: “I can’t answer that, because only the Lord knows my future. But I really want to play for the first team, and I will work as hard as I can to improve more and more. And if my chance comes, I will take it. I’m not afraid to shine.”

He is, it seems, extremely focused on his goals, and unlikely to be distracted as other teenage starlets might. Naturally he misses his life in Sweden, his friends, his girlfriend, but he has settled in at Liverpool where his time and attention is taken up by football, which, he says, “I live for.”

“It’s much harder at Liverpool, and I really like it. I really like Pep [Segura’s] and Rodolfo [Borrell’s] way of coaching. They’re hard; intelligent and hard. That’s really how a coach should be.”

“To be honest, I enjoy every training session at the academy. I always look to improve more and more. In a normal session, we work a lot with the ball. We try to get good friends with the ball.”

Inspired and excited, too, by the higher standard of player he is playing and training with (in April he had his first senior training session, and by May he had featured for Liverpool’s reserve side), he highlights Raheem Sterling, Conor Coady and Brad Smith in particular as Academy players with bright futures ahead of them. Liverpool fans may be dreaming of the prospect of this batch of Academy graduates making it through to the first team in the next few years, and with Dalglish at the helm, the youngsters themselves have every reason to believe that chances will come their way.

“The ball,” as Koffe says, “is in my hands. Only I can decide my future, by working hard. And I promise I will work hard to get there, because I want this so badly.”

By Phil Dodds (@CrowdGoBananes)

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Posted in: Football