Why Sheffield United’s Robin Olsen was happy to swap Rome for coffee mornings in Steel City

Robin Olsen of Sheffield Utd. Picture: Simon Bellis / SportimageRobin Olsen of Sheffield Utd. Picture: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Robin Olsen of Sheffield Utd. Picture: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
CAFE culture is something you would probably associate more with the historic city of Rome than the Steel City of Sheffield.

In the event, new Sheffield United goalkeeper Robin Olsen never had the chance to share a cappuccino with his fellow Roma players at the Piazza del Popolo or elsewhere.

By contrast, a post-training expresso with his Blades team-mates down Ecclesall Road is likely to be on the menu soon enough as the 31-year-old assimilates among a tight group who have seen plenty and watch each other’s backs.

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In that respect, it reminds Olsen of his time with the Swedish international team, which has provided sanctuary during the past few years in particular.

Olsen said: “I could see the strength of the (Sheffield United) dressing room from the first day.

“When you hear the players were hanging out after the sessions and having a coffee with each other and enjoying their company, that is really important for me and I was happy to hear that.

“I am looking forward to being a part of that with them. I am not used to that after my time in Italy.

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“I can see the same things here as we had in the national team. If we had the opportunity to hang out with each other, we would do that.

“I think that makes the group stronger. It feels like it’s a good and strong group.”

The fact that Olsen, fresh from his error on his debut in midweek against Preston, was happy to take on pre-match press duties ahead of today’s game provides an early indicator into the character of the Malmo-born keeper.

Olsen quickly fronted up regarding his error for Preston’s opener and if anyone can handle a bit of adversity, it is surely him as he has seen a fair bit.

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Brought in to replace Alisson Becker after signing for Roma from FC Copenhagen after a successful World Cup in 2018, Olsen found pressure immediately thrust upon his broad shoulders.

After establishing himself, a change of manager and some highly-publicised mistakes saw him dropped. Loan spells subsequently followed at Cagliari and Everton and now he finds himself in South Yorkshire.

On a personal level, Olsen and his family also suffered trauma earlier this year when they were threatened with a machete during a break-in at their home.

That experience perhaps also helps to explain why notions of pressure are relative to the Swede, who has joined the Blades on a season-long loan.

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Olsen, who was included in the team of the tournament by respected French football magazine L’Equipe after the first round of games in the Euro 2020 championships. continued: “I have played some big (club) games and really important games for Sweden as well. You are always under pressure as a football player. Just bring the experience to be calm.

“I have been under pressure before and I know how to handle it. I am not nervous or stressed about that.

“I try to take the positive things from my time in Italy. Of course, there were things I was not happy with. I am just trying to bring all of the positive things from the guys I have trained with.”

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