The current top scorer of the Damallsvenskan has registered an impressive eight goals in nine games, including a hat-trick. These stats speak for themselves and the player behind them is Danish forward Amalie Vangsgaard.
Her outstanding form hasn’t gone unnoticed, as she was recently voted the Swedish league’s Player of the Month. Speaking to Her Football Hub, she reflected on her footballing career so far, as well as her bright start to the 2021/22 season in the Damallsvenskan.
Recent success with Linköping
“Of course I was really happy”, said Vangsgaard when asked about the POTM award. “I think it’s been a good start to the season, we had a good start, the whole team, and I think that’s also why I’ve been doing good.
“The team has been doing good in the games and everybody has played with quality. And I think that makes it easier for everyone to have a good game and score goals.”
Vangsgaard joined Linköping FC in summer of 2021 for the second half of the past season. Since then, she has become a vital member of the squad. Now, after the nine rounds played in the league, the club sits in third place and continues to be a challenging opponent.
Style of play
However, not many followers of the Swedish women’s top flight had Vangsgaard on their radar as a leading scorer. When she was announced as her club’s new signing last summer, the Dane was presented as a wingback.
As Linköping’s former top scorer Uchenna Kanu left the league prior to the start of the 2021/22 season, Vangsgaard found herself in a new, but familiar position.
“I am actually a forward”, she explained. “Before coming here I played maybe like a few games as a wingback, I was like transitioning into a wingback. But normally, I’ve always played as an attacker, my whole life almost.”
Nevertheless, she doesn’t mind playing on the wings and can cover both sides. There, Vangsgaard is additionally comfortable to cut inside and make crosses. This too applies when she plays more centrally and goes wide.Embed from Getty Images
The Dane is an explosive and physical player, who is as good in the air as with passing. Her flexibility seems to add to her recent success in attack.
Apart from a strong right foot, Vangsgaard has a great ability to read the game and a feeling for well-timed positionings in the box. Her strength on the wings and in the central zones causes problems for every defender and forces them to take actions.
Restart after a break
Amalie Vangsgaard started playing football at the age of four, inspired by her older brother. After being at a local youth team in Denmark, she made the move to top club Fortuna Hjørring eight years later. “There, I played down in the youth teams and then went to the first team”, she relates.
“There, I played some league games, and even some in the Champions League [in 2014/15]. And then I stopped playing football for two and a half years, I think. And then I started again and now I’m at Linköping.”
The break gave her football career an unusual turn. “I think I just reached a point where I was so sad and so stressed that it wasn’t good for me”, said Vangsgaard about her decision to leave the game temporarily. “I don’t think it was good for like anybody else when I went to training. So, it took a long time to take the decision, but in the end it was just the right one.”
Her game has strongly benefited from the time off, especially energy wise. “It’s much better and it’s a much more positive life”, Vangsgaard emphasized. “I have been playing since I was a child. So it’s like something I just did. Like, it’s a regular basis all the time, something as to switch between. Now, it’s a choice of playing and not just something I kind of do.”
Looking back, Vangsgaard would tell her younger self to listen more carefully to herself. “But also: Don’t be that hard on yourself.” she added. “Because I think if I wasn’t that hard on myself, I might have been playing football longer, or like not having a break. But definitely, listen to yourself.”
After her 2.5 years break from football, she joined FC Nordsjælland in 2019. The forward always knew that it was to possible for her to be a professional football player. “I think the thought of it was really nice before I stopped playing football, but it was not like what my head wanted kind of”, Vangsgaard reflected.
“And also at that time, it maybe wasn’t that big, I guess not the same as it is now. Maybe it developed over the last years. And then I just started in with FC Nordsjælland and it went well. And then the dream came back.” Now, she is pursuing it at Linköping.
Another aim of Amalie Vangsgaard is to play for the Danish National Team. “I think it’s everybody’s dream to like represent your country. Of course, I would love to be called up for the national team, but it’s out of my hands.”
Denmark’s National Team is stacked with outstanding players from Europe’s top leagues. Several of them have developed in the Swedish league. Regardless of this, Vangsgaard doesn’t feel any pressure to live up to potential expectations on her: “I just want to play and then see where it takes me.”
What’s next for her?
Despite her great success this year, Vangsgaard seems down to earth and self-reflected. The individual award in April was an additional motivation for her, as the votes came from fans of the Damallsvenskan, as well as experts. “I think it’s nice to know that people think I have been doing well”, she said.
“And I think sometimes as a football player, it can be hard for yourself to like give you that like compliment. So of course I find it really, really nice. Like it made me happy and also to believe in myself more.”
The forward is certainly one to keep an eye on for the remainder of the season. For now, it is all about helping her team in the upcoming games and taking one step at a time.
“I think just right now, I just enjoy it and just doing well, but I take it game by game and it can change from day by day almost, but of course, to see where I can take my football”, said Vangsgaard. “And then just, get some good opportunities and experiences now. That would be interesting to see.”