Former Ipswich Town starlet Gunnar is back firing under Hreidarsson
- Credit: Archant
When one door closes, another one opens, and that is definitely the case for former Ipswich Town Academy Player of the Year, Gunnar Thorsteinsson.
Just a year after winning the club’s top youth award, the 19-year-old was packing his bags back to his homeland, having been released without a senior Blues appearance under his belt.
However, he now finds himself playing an important role for IBV in Iceland’s top flight, under former Blues legend, Hermann Hreidarsson and ex-England goalkeeper, David James, and looking forward to a Europa League qualifier in July.
Hreidarsson is player-coach of IBV, having agreed a deal to manage the club last September and drafted in his good friend and former Portsmouth team-mate James, with almost 1,000 English domestic league games under his belt, as his assistant.
IBV are currently fifth after five games and defensive midfielder Thorsteinsson is delighted with how things have turned out for him.
“The team has performed really well and I have been really pleased with every game I have played in so far,” said the teenager.
“We have had a tough fixture list to start with, playing three of the strongest teams, so it could have been a lot worse and some pundits over here are saying we could be contenders for the title.
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“The crowds are not as big over in Iceland but as “Jamo” (David James) recently said, it does not matter if you win a game in front of 90,000, 50,000, 10,000 or 500, the feeling is still the same.”
For James, the switch to Iceland will have provided something of a culture shock, with the 42-year-old having been used to playing in World Cup and European Championship campaigns, as well as in the biggest Premier League games, during a career which has included spells at Liverpool, Aston Villa and West Ham.
As for Hreidarsson, he has the unenviable record of having been relegated five times from the Premier League, including with Ipswich in 2002, but made his name in the UK as a whole-hearted defender and a consistent performer for a number of teams.
Despite the pair’s standings in the UK, Thorsteinsson says the veteran duo are the perfect fit for the club.
“They are both legends and both know their football,” he said.
“Hermann is a great motivator and puts so much faith in you and is almost a divine figure here, having come back to the club where he started his career.
“James is more analytical and is always prepared to take players for extra training so they can improve.”
Thorsteinsson is happy to have got his career back on track and, despite an indifferent time at Portman Road, has no regrets over his time in Suffolk.
He is also realistic too and sees a chance to play back in his home country as a chance to maybe re-launch his career on foreign shores.
“I would like to play abroad again,” said Thorsteinsson.
“It was disappointing not to reach my goal at Ipswich and who knows if a change of manager affected my chances? Football is full of ifs and buts.
“But I improved every aspect of my game at Ipswich and I would say Russell Osman and Bryan Klug were the biggest influences on me, and I am proud of what I achieved there.
“For now, this is the best move for me at this stage of my career.”