Nineteen players head to Sweden through the LFE

Last August, I published an article detailing the 17 English players who were heading to Sweden through the LFE’s player placement scheme. Well the organisation has just announced the latest cohort to make the move ahead of the new season in Sweden.

This time there are 19 players making the move, all of which are former apprentices at professional sides from the Championship, League One, League Two and the National League. The players will be joining sides from the third, fourth and fifth tiers of Swedish players. They will make the move for an initial 12 week period and if they impress, can have their stays extended if their clubs offer them contracts.

There have been many success stories from the scheme in the past with several players now playing in the top-flight of Swedish football, having worked their way up following their placements. You can read more about the LFE in the article I wrote about them last year here.

Here’s a round-up of the players who have made the move. You can also find the LFE’s list of players here.

Division 1 (third tier, split into north and south)

Former Blackpool goalkeeper Craig Thordarson is the only player to join a third-tier side, joining newly-promoted side Bodens BK. They achieved promotion from the fourth-tier last year thanks to the help of several English players, including Zak Guerfi.

Thordason, 19, was part of the Blackpool U18 side who reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup last season before being knocked out by Arsenal. He was an ever-present through the cup run.

Division 2 (fourth tier, split into six regions)

Gottne IF (2018 – 9th place, Norrland)

Joining Gottne are:

Ciaran Gordon-Stearn, a former Luton Town goalkeeper. The 19-year-old has been on the books of National League South side Billericay Town this season.

Graham Bryan, a former Oxford United midfielder who had loan spells at Southern League clubs North Leigh and Banbury United

There is also Mwiya Malumo who made two first team appearances for Wigan Athletic in the Checkatrade Trophy last season. He had a loan spell at Skelmersdale United last season and has been playing for Cheshire League side Vulcan more recently. He is a Zambia U20 international, though.

IFK Mora (2018 – 11th Norra Svealand)

Mora are managed by English coach Ben Smith and also recently signed English defender Derek Ubah.

Also joining Mora are:

Lewis Clayton, a 19-year-old goalkeeper who made the bench three times for Cheltenham Town’s first team in the 2016/17 season. Has also played for the Robins in the FA Youth Cup. Has had spells in non-league for North Leigh and Bishops Cleeve.

George Keys, a former Colchester United defender who has had spells in non-league this season for Brightlingsea Regent and Leiston. The young right back has also featured in the FA Youth Cup in the past.

Adao Manuel is a player of very good pedigree. He played for the academies of Man City, Middlesbrough and Crewe Alexandra growing up and is former England U16 international. The defender had a spell with Droylsden earlier this season.

Bilal Sesay, the former Grimsby Town striker is also heading to IFK Mora. The youngster has played in non-league for Enfield Borough this season.

Matt Mayes, the 19-year-old former Portsmouth forward has spent time out on loan at Southern League side Gosport Borough.

IFK Östersund (2018 – 8th Norrland)

Signing for IFK Östersund are:

Sam Tingle, spent over ten years at Barnsley before being released at the end of last season.

Theo White, a centre-midfielder who was an apprentice at Gillingham.

Ytterhogdals IK (2018 – 3rd Norrland)

YIK are a side who always have a strong English contingent and they just missed out on promotion to the third-tier last season. They have an English coaching staff and have recruited more Englishmen this season so I must admit, I have a soft spot for them. They have former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Blinco amongst their ranks, read my interview with him here.

Also joining them this season is:

Jake Davies, a former Burton Albion forward. The 19-year-old has also played for Quorn and Shepshed Dynamo in non-league.

Harry Turner is a former Fleetwood Town goalkeeper and he has already been busy in pre-season for YIK.

Liam Collings joins YIK from Stafford Rangers after a spell with Rincorn Linnets. He grew up in the Liverpool and Fleetwood Town academies.

Division 3 (fifth tier, split into 12 regions)

Eskilstuna City (2018 – 14th Södra Svealand, relegated)

Joining Eskilstuna, who were relegated from the fourth tier last year, are:

Mekhi Hyde, the 17-year-old is a former Dagenham & Redbridge player and has spent time in non-league with Bowers & Pitsea.

Leroy Hlabi, a former Gillingham youngster, the 19-year-old forward has played on loan out at Canterbury City.

IFK Holmsund (2018 – 3rd Norra Norrland)

Remarkably, Vinnie Jones had a spell at this fifth-tier Swedish club all the way back in 1986 before he joined Wimbledon. He guided the side to promotion and the cup quarter-finals during his time with Holmsund.

Looking to emulate Jones’s success at Holmsund are:

Lanre Balogun, the 18-year-old forward had a spell out on loan at Canvey Island from Dagenham & Redbridge earlier this season. Has experience in the FA Youth Cup.

Sam Salis, another 18-year-old formerly of Dagenham & Redbridge. The midfielder has also played in the FA Youth Cup.

Ty-Rhys Paul-Jones, a speedy winger who has played for Walsall’s and Grimsby Town’s youth academies. Has played for Stratford Town in non-league this season.

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