Michael Svensson

Michael Svensson is a Swedish centre back who was born in Varnamo, Sweden on 25th November 1975. Svensson began his career with Skillingaryds, making his debut in 1992. He played for local side IFK Varnamo for three years before joining Halmstad in 1997. His impressive club form earned him international recognition for the first time on 17th August 1999, when he won his first cap for Sweden in 0-0 draw with Austria. Svensson helped Halmstad to a Championship win in 2000. In 2001 Alain Perrin took the defender to Ligue 1 outfit Troyes. Svensson was part of Sweden's 2002 World Cup squad, but failed to make a single appearance at the tournament.

Svensson signed for Southampton on 25th June 2002. The former Troyes man struck up an immediate rapport with Claus Lundekvam forming one of the best defensive partnership's in the country. Svensson's no nonsense style and never say die attitude won him plenty of support from the fans too. He made his Saints debut as a substitute in a 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on 24th August 2002. Svensson gave away a last minute penalty and was sent off for handball in only his second start in England, a 2-1 defeat against Tottenham on 31st August. He made a quick recovery however, and returned to score in a 6-1 League Cup thrashing of Tranmere on 2nd October. Svensson proved to be a big threat at attacking set pieces with his expert heading ability. He scored in the amazing 4-0 FA Cup win over Tottenham on January 4th and also grabbed a last minute equaliser against Fulham on 15th March. Svensson made history on 11th May 2003 when he became the last ever player to score at Manchester City's Maine Road. The Swedish stopper played in all of Southampton's FA Cup matches that season, including the final defeat to Arsenal on May 17th.

Svensson continued his superb form during the first half of the 2003/04 campaign. The club was in a Champions League spot at Christmas, thanks largely to one of the best defensive records in the Premiership. Svensson also contributed at the other end, scoring goals in wins against Charlton and Liverpool in December.

On 21st March 2004 Svensson sustained an injury in the warm up at Portsmouth which kept him out for the rest of the campaign. Saints lost that game and looked much weaker at the back in the following matches without Svensson. He missed the entire 2004/05 season, where his absence was felt greatly. Southampton were relegated, conceding 66 goals.

Svensson made his long awaited comeback on 1st October 2005 in a 1-1 draw at Preston. He didn't last long in the first team however, breaking down with injury again in late November. Svensson failed to make another appearance for the club again during 2005/06. He spent much of the 2006/07 campaign trying to regain his fitness, travelling to Germany to receive treatment from Bayern Munich doctor Hans Muller-Wolfhart. Svensson's contract at Southampton expired in June 2007, but he was still allowed to use the club's facilities in an attempt to recover. He underwent further surgery in the summer of 2007.

Svensson began a remarkable comeback at Southampton in July 2008 after visiting a specialist rehabilitation centre in Italy. The defender signed a new deal with the club after completing 90 minutes in a friendly match with Winchester City on July 13th. Svensson made his first competitive appearance for nearly three years on 9th August 2008 when he captained Saints in a 2-1 loss at Cardiff. It proved to be another short lived return however. Svensson played just four further matches, and looked the shadow of the player he once was. His last appearance came in the depressing 3-1 League Cup defeat at Rotherham on 23rd September 2008.

On January 24th 2009 Svensson became part of manager Mark Wotte's coaching staff at St Marys, but couldn't do anything to stop the club from dropping to League 1 at the end of the campaign. He left the club in July 2009.

On 17th December 2009 Svensson returned to Halmstads, where he became assistant manager to Lars Jacobsson. On 7th August 2011 he made yet another playing comeback, coming on as a late substitute in an incredible 5-4 win over Norrkopping.