Mellberg offers Johan support
Much-maligned Bolton striker Johan Elmander has been backed to deliver by Sweden teammate Olof Mellberg.
Last Updated: 02/03/10 9:22pm
Much-maligned Bolton striker Johan Elmander has been backed to deliver by Sweden team-mate Olof Mellberg.
Elmander has shown little to suggest he deserved the £10million price-tag Bolton paid Toulouse for his services since arriving in England in 2008.
The 28-year-old marksman has scored just once in the league this season and his goal-shy antics have compounded the Trotters' struggles, which sees them just two points above the relegation zone.
But Elmander remains highly-rated back in his homeland and veteran Mellberg believes new Bolton manager Owen Coyle should keep faith in the powerfully built forward.
"I haven't seen too much of Bolton to have a great opinion but I know Johan as a player," said Mellberg, the former Aston Villa captain.
"Bolton have struggled in the Premier League - it is really tough - and it is a big change to come from where he came from and was able to dominate.
"But he is very hard-working and a good striker. I am sure he will do very well in the future."
Mellberg left Villa for Juventus two years ago and has since moved on to Olympiakos.
He was an outstanding performer over seven years for the Midlands club and he remembers his career in England with great fondness.
"The Premier League for me is the strongest in the world," said the 32-year-old. "To have played in it when it was so strong was great.
"I do miss it but I was very fortunate to get seven good years there."
Mellberg is poised to win his 100th cap for Sweden in Wednesday's friendly against Wales in Swansea.
He is facing a quiet summer after Sweden failed to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa but he remains optimistic about the future under new coach Erik Hamren.
"I will see tomorrow if I am playing but it has been a great adventure so far," said Mellberg.
"It will feel a bit different for me this year and those who have been involved in five successive championships but we now have the time now to rebuild with a new manager.
"It will feel strange not to be at the World Cup but hopefully we can use this in a good way and use that for the qualifiers."