Sweden’s newcomer in the backline: Amanda Nildén

Amanda Nílden
Italy's forward Valentina Bergamaschi (L) vies with Sweden's defender Amanda Nilden during the Algarve Cup women's final football match between Sweden and Italy at the Municipal stadium in Lagos, southern Portugal, on February 23, 2022. (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP) (Photo by JORGE GUERRERO/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s been a dream since I started to play football, so it’s amazing to be here with the team and play in front of all the fans and swear the Sweden shirt,” said Amanda Nildén with a big smile. The 23-years old is selected for the squad that will aim for Gold at the 2022 UEFA Women’s Euros this summer.

It will be her very first tournament experience with the Swedish National team. Amanda Nildén’s excitement and motivation shines through when speaking to Her Football Hub about the big summer in England ahead.

Amanda Nílden: earning selection

At the beginning of the 2021/22 campaign, the defender made the move to Italian side Juventus Turin. There, she enjoyed a breakthrough season and convinced with solid performances on the pitch. With this in mind, her selection for the Euros does not come as a complete surprise.

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“I worked for it”, emphasized Amanda Nildén. “Maybe if you asked me one year ago, I would answer differently. But since I was in squad for the first time, I felt like it’s close, maybe I can get there. So, of course, [during] the whole season with Juventus I was thinking about it all the time. Now I’m here.”

Her first season in Italy was a successful one. Amanda Nildén featured in 18 games for the team and scored one goal. “I feel I’ve learned a lot by myself and I’ve grown as a football player and as a person”, reflected the defender on her development at Juventus.

She added: “I feel this year [has] been the most important in my career so far. So I’m really happy with this season.”

First tournament with Sweden for Amanda Nílden

Newcomer Amanda Nildén looks forward to being in the tournament environment. So far, she has earned three appearances for Sweden but admits that the games at the Euros will be different. Discussing the challenges ahead with her Swedish teammates helps the defender in her preparation.

“I learned a lot from everyone because many of the girls on the team have experienced a lot of things at tournaments before”, explained Nildén. “I don’t need to ask a lot. I [can] just watch them and see what they do. I learned a lot from them, so that’s great.”

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However, in Sweden’s squad, the places in the starting XI are highly contested. “It’s 23 really good football players here and all the positions is really hard”, admitted the defender. She is aware that she has to give her everything in training to be featured in the games.

“So I’m just doing my best (…) every day. Then we will see where it goes. But they’re really good players, so you know you can’t expect too much.”

Ambitions and Ada Hegerberg

Despite the rivalry, playing time is one of Amanda Nildén’s goals as an individual player during the Euros. However, she also emphasized her will to improve continuously.

“When you’re here you always want to play, you want to be the better football player and grow. And so, of course, I’m here to play with it’s the same with training”, she said. “It’s a good opportunity to get better also. I will do everything I can to (…) be part of the team on the pitch and then everything else that comes around is just the bonus.”

Sweden will play against though opponents at the Euros. The side play their opening game against the Netherlands on July 9th and count on the support from their numerous traveling fans. When asked which striker she would like to come up against as a defender, Amanda Nildén has to think about it for a while before.

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“Ada Hegerberg, she’s really good in the box”, said the newcomer. She concludes with a laugh: “So you asked me if I want to play against her. I’d rather not (…) because she’s good. [There’s] lots of big players this year at the Euros. So I think in every team you can find really good football players. So definitely, the quality is high.”

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