Players who have swapped England for Graham Potter's Östersunds
Östersunds have made the headlines this week after beating Arsenal at the Emirates on Thursday night. Despite losing the match on aggregate, the side from North Sweden impressed many. They are managed by the English Graham Potter, who used to play for the likes of Birmingham City, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion in his playing days. He took over Östersunds in 2011 whilst they were in the fourth tier and has since guided them to three promotions and the Swedish Cup in 2017. He has been a hit in Sweden and has had some help from English players along the way. Here are some players who have swapped English football for Sweden.
The 25-year-old midfielder from York is one of three Englishmen who play for Östersunds at the moment. He joined them in December 2011 after impressing on an open trial. Since then he has been pivotal in their rise up the leagues. His 15 league goals in the Superettan in the 2015/16 season helped them get promoted to the Allsvenskan for the first time in their history. Hopcutt started his career at York City but struggled to break into their team as a youngster. He had loan spells at Whitby Town and Stokesley before being released and joining Ossett Town. He then had a season with Tadcaster Albion in the Northern Counties East League before joining Östersunds.
The midfielder moved to Sweden in 2015 to join third-tier side Ytterhogdals. He played for Middlesbrough as a youngster but was released in 2013 and joined Darlington. He has further spells in non-league with Thornaby and Spennymoor Town but moved to Ytterhogdals to force a career in Sweden. He was spotted by Östersunds in the summer 2016 and they brought him to the club. Since then, he has been an important player for them.
The goalkeeper moved to Sweden from England as part of a player placement programme. He had previously been released by Macclesfield Town after loan spells with New Mills, Salford, Buxton and Newcastle Town. The 23 year-old from Liverpool earned a contract with Östersunds in the summer after spells with IFK Östersund and Frsika Viljor in the lower leagues of Sweden.
The Middlesbrough goalkeeper spent time on loan at Östersunds in the second division in 2014. He played 14 games for the club and impressed during his loan from the Riverside. The 25 year-old still plays for Middlesbrough now but is currently on loan at Bury. He is still waiting to become their first-choice and has had loan stints out at Oxford, Bradford, Östersunds, Motherwell, Oldham, Burton and now Bury.
Another goalkeeper, Blackman joined Östersunds in March 2016 on loan to gain some first-team experience from Chelsea. He played for them in the remainder of their first season in the top flight in 2015/16. He is now on loan at Sheffield United in the Championship and is hoping to help them get promoted to the Premier League after spending last season on loan at League Two side Wycombe Wanderers.
The now-retired midfielder joined Östersunds in 2008 as a player-coach. He had a lengthy player career spanning back to 1991 and he played until he was 40. After starting out at Newcastle United, Makel played for Blackburn Rovers, Huddersfield, Hearts, Bradford, Livingston, Plymouth, Dunfermline, East Fife, Östersunds and Cowdenbeath. He left Sweden in January 2011 to move to Cowdenbeath.
The former striker is now the assistant manager to Graham Potter. He became a prolific goal scorer for Östersunds after joining them in 2011. He became the combined top goal scorer of all six regional leagues in Sweeden in his first season with 24 goals in 20 games. In England, Wake had spells at Carlisle United, Gretna, Scarborough, Hamilton, Greenock Morton and Gateshead.