former Reading manager Steve Coppell did not believe that the Icelandic international had the pace to be a successful midfielder.
Swansea City's midfield talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson is closing in on The Swans' all-time top flight goalscoring record after registering an exquisite curled finish in last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Arsenal, however things could have been so different for the Icelandic international had former manager Steve Coppell had his way.
A report in Wales Online claims that Coppell, who was in charge of Reading when Sigurdsson emerged from The Royals' academy, did not initially deem the gifted midfielder as having the pace to be a success in the middle of the park, and instead opted to try and turn the Reykjavik-born star into a centre-half.
Speaking to Wales Online, Sigurdsson's former coach Dadni Rafnsson laughed:
“When we got there (to Reading) Steve Coppell was trying to turn him into a centre-half,
“We watched training and he was playing next to Andre Bikey. It was quite funny. Coppell was saying Gylfi wasn’t quick enough to be a midfielder. But he said: ‘Don’t worry, we’ll find him a position.’ So they played him as a centre-half!”
Thankfully for Swans' fans, Brendan Rodgers' arrival as Reading's chief of youth football ensured that Sigurdsson was reinstated to his natural attacking midfield position, and the goals have continued to flow for the 27-year-old since he burst onto the scene with The Royals back in 2008.
Sigurdsson has enjoyed the most fruitful spell of his club career since moving to The Liberty Stadium from Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, and the Icelandic magician, who recently signed a new four-year contract with the Swans after reportedly rejecting a £25million summer move to Everton, already has two goals to his name this season.
The prolific midfielder currently sits on 27 Premier League goals for Swansea, just five strikes short of former Swans' striker Bob Latchford's top flight record of 32 goals for the Jacks, a record that you would back him to surpass providing that he can steer clear of injury over the remainder of the 2016/17 campaign.
Swansea take on Watford at the Liberty Stadium this Saturday in new manager Bob Bradley's first home game in charge since taking over the reins from the sacked Francesco Guidolin earlier this month, and Sigurdsson will have a crucial role to play for the American manager as he looks to navigate the 19th placed Swans out of the drop zone and up the Premier League table.