Aron Gunnarsson hopes to turn his homeland into a nation in mourning this weekend by steering Cardiff City to Carling Cup glory against Icelandic favourites, Liverpool.
By Phil Cadden
The 22 year-old midfield ace never had any time for Liverpool when he was growing up in Akureyri and now the 25-times capped Icelander aims to extend the six year trophy famine suffered by Kenny Dalglish’s men at Wembley.
“Growing up I was always a Manchester United fan like my father. Everyone in Iceland would always watch the big games at Wembley, like the FA Cup and League Cup finals – it was either that or build another snow house,” jokes Gunnarsson.
“All my mates back home are Liverpool fans and I’ve had a few calls from them asking for tickets. There are a lot of Liverpool fans in Iceland and they are the most popular English club in the country.
“But I’ve changed a few of them, especially in my family, and I hope I can break a few hearts back home and get them to support me instead.”
Gunnarsson joined Cardiff from Coventry City last summer as one of new manager Malky Mackay’s many new recruits. Never in his wildest dreams then did he imagine he would be going to Wembley to play against one of the Premiership’s top teams.
“I never thought I’d be going to Wembley when I signed last summer. The game this weekend is a real bonus,” he said.
“I’ve never been to Wembley before and it will be the biggest game of my career. There is a lot of excitement and a lot of nerves, but that is a good mix going into a big game.
“Liverpool is a big club and have some great players. We need to go there, enjoy the experience and just do our best.
“I am only 22 and I just want to go out there and enjoy it. It’s probably going to be nerve racking for the first few minutes, but then I’ll be in the zone.
“All of us have to have a good game to cause an upset, but there is no pressure on our backs as we are massive underdogs. It will be great to play against world class players like Steve Gerrard, who has been there and done it all.”
This article is written for IceNews by Welsh football writer Phil Cadden