Henrik Larsson has been in the headlines, and it’s all been to help send out a positive message in the most tragic of circumstances.
The Swede opened up on the pain of losing his brother, Robert, to a drug overdose in 2009, and how he had to find a way to cope with the aftermath of that.
Henrik encouraged people to speak up if they are struggling in any shape or form with their mental health and well-being. I’m sure his words would have struck a chord with many, and inspired them to have a conversation.
There is no doubt that it is good to talk and all of us, as human beings, should try our very best to help one another.
There was also some excellent chat from him about football on The Lockdown Tactics podcast with Robert Snodgrass and Kris Boyd.
Henrik gave an insight into winning the Premier League in 1998 to stop Rangers from doing 10-in-a-row.
He also spoke very well about his own son, Jordan, and the pride he has in the way he has carved out a career for himself in football, currently with Spartak Moscow.
Henrik’s had a few jobs in Sweden, and his desire to get back into management was reiterated, and I’d like to see him being given another opportunity.
But, of course, you need to be patient, and jobs need to become available.
There was an opportunity last year for him to go to Southend United, but that fell through – by all accounts – because of an issue with his backroom staff.
It remains to be seen if he gets back in.
But one thing I do know about Henrik, from my own dealings with him when I was at Celtic in 1999/2000, is that he is a man of integrity.
That is so important, and is a big tick for any chairman or chief executive looking to hire a manager.
I can say for sure that if he tells you he is going to do something, then he will do it.
He also expects the same in return, and that’s the way it should be.
If Henrik gets back into football, everybody at that club will quickly know where they stand with him and that’s all you can ask for.
As a player, we all know he was outstanding.
He joined Celtic from Feyenoord in 1997 when Wim Jansen brought him in for £650,000. What a bargain that turned out to be.
Henrik had a brilliant seven years at Parkhead. He then moved to Barcelona and Manchester United, and that underlined again the quality he possessed.
He worked hard at his game, and there was no arrogance about him whatsoever.
He was a brand-new fella, who just loved the game.
When I was at Celtic in 2000, he was coming back from his broken leg and we managed to get him some game time – coming off the bench – in the final match of the season, at home to Dundee United.
He then went to the Euros with Sweden that summer and that was great for him.
I then managed him again in the UNICEF Soccer Aid match at Old Trafford a few years back.
Before the game, I assessed our squad, and we had too many strikers and hardly any defenders.
I voiced my concerns – and Henrik was the first to put his hand up and said he would play in the centre of defence.
Again, that’s just a measure of the man – considerate, helpful and selfless. What an exemplary attitude.
By the way, he played brilliantly in the game. I think he might have scored, too!
I wish he had been available that whole season in 1999/2000 but he broke his leg away to Lyon in the October, and that was it.
Since then, new chapters and stages have been there in life for all of us.
We’ll see if there is more to come from Henrik, and I hope he gets an opportunity.
Players will respond to him and learn from him. You then need to hope that they turn that into victories on match day.
Whether it’s Scotland, England, Holland or Spain, in Henrik the club and board will be getting a first-class person with the right work ethic and values in life.
As I said, he is just a normal boy, who was outstanding at his job.
Management is a testing occupation, and I know from experience it can be a very lonely job at times.
But so many want to try it. I was one of them, and can look back to some great times – but it is not easy.
There are no guarantees, but we all know that when we go into it. And that will never change.
But when you have a real appetite to get into it and succeed, then you are going to give yourself the best possible chance of being successful.
Finding the right club is vital, of course, and a chairman you can have a solid relationship with is also highly beneficial.
I hope Henrik finds what he is looking for. He deserves a chance, for sure.
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