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INTERVIEW: Couldn't be any happier right now

Keeper Jokull Andresson on loving life up north, healthy competition and learning lessons

20 September 2023


INTERVIEW: Couldn't be any happier right now

Keeper Jokull Andresson on loving life up north, healthy competition and learning lessons

20 September 2023

Keeper Jökull Andrésson had to be patient at the start of this season following his loan move up north from Reading, but a call-up for the Port Vale away game at the end of last month sparked a streak of four consecutive league appearances, which includes the current three-game unbeaten run.

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The 22-year-old, who is no stranger to League One football having enjoyed previous loan spells with Morecambe and Exeter, has settled quickly at Brunton Park thanks, he revealed, to the positive attitude learned from his father.

Dad Andrés Guðmundsson was a leader in the world of strength athletics and is a former holder of the World Strongman Challenge and European Hercules titles.

When asked why he’s rarely to be found without a smile pasted across his face, the big stopper said: “It’s been great coming here. I’m enjoying my time, the lads have been excellent, they really welcomed me in, and everything has been really good.

“The club sorted me out a house straight away to help me to settle in, it’s been really enjoyable. But the smiling, I’m going to have to say that it comes from my dad.

“He’s a very open person with everything. He’s big about having a personality, so I kind of got all of that from him. I’ve just always enjoyed things more when I have a smile on my face, especially when it comes to playing football.

“It helps it feel a lot better. I don’t know, it’s just fun having a fun time, I guess.”

And obviously a big help when it comes to settling at any club is if you’re involved out on the pitch, with the last four games bringing five points, a clean sheet and the winning of a man-of-the-match vote.

“I am enjoying that, yes,” he told us. “I have to say that’s mostly because of the players that are in front of me. They’ve been outstanding.

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“Sam, Hunts, Mells, everyone in front of me has done an excellent job. They’re helping me out so much, and if they’re doing that for me it means I can help them. I think it’s just a team collective, and I feel like the biggest reason why I’ve been doing alright is because of them.

“If you really want to settle in you can do it straight away, in my opinion. I think it’s just comes down to what you want to do. When I came here I thought, do you know what, I want to be number one.

“I want to show everyone what I can do and how much I can help the team. The way for me to do that is to get to know the lads. I already knew Sam from Morecambe, from two seasons ago, and then you’ve got Hunts who is a great captain.

“He’s really helped me to settle in, especially out on the pitch as well. He’s always talking and giving me little pointers, and then there Mells … and Mells is just Mells. He’s a great guy. I’ve really enjoyed working with them all.”

Another important relationship, of course, is the one he has with fellow stopper Tomas Holy.

“I think we’ve got a great connection, the three of us, which includes Dave Timmins,” he commented. “He’s always helping me out as well, and I know we’re obviously fighting for the same spot, but I don’t think there’s any kind of sulking from either of us.

“When I first came in he was starting, I wasn’t, but it’s the other way now. If he’s playing I want to help him out as much as I can. It’s not that he’s just another goalkeeper, he’s my friend as well. I think that’s how we see each other, we’re mates more than just competitors.

“I think it’s so important when we’re out on the training pitch that rather than it just being a fierce competition, we also need to be trying to help each other out. We just want the best for the club and the team, and I think that’s all that matters really.


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“We know we’re always breathing down each other’s throats, but that’s huge. But as I said earlier, it’s more important that we’re mates and helping each other out. Competition is so vital because it makes you a better player.

“I know Tomas is coming in every day looking to get that starting spot, so I have to be on my toes as well. I know I need to make sure that in every training session I’m doing the best I can, and in every single game I have to be playing to the best level I can be.

“That’s why it’s a very healthy competition, but we don’t do it in a mean way, if that’s makes sense, it’s never in a bad way. We’re always looking to help each other out.”

It was that August trip to Vale Park that brought his debut for the Blues, and a day where he admitted that nerves had to be conquered and lessons learned.

“It was a good feeling when I was told I was starting,” he revealed. “I can’t lie, I was a bit nervous, there were a few butterflies going around in my stomach, but there’s nothing like playing football.

“I just need to look at last season where I was pretty much out and injured all the time. So, coming to a club like this, with the fans we’ve got, they’ve been amazing with me, I don’t think I could be any happier than I am right now.

“The nerves I had are all part of how much I want to show people what I can do. I’ve always been nervous before any game, be it a friendly or when I was playing under-18s, first team football, it’s just how I am.

“I think that helps me out, really. Coming here to a club where you know they were promoted last season, we want to stay in this league now. I was thinking right away that, do you know what, I need to do my part here.

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“So, yeah, there were bound to butterflies when I knew I was starting, but I just want to help the team. I think I can do that with what I’ve got, I know my capabilities, and I want to show the manager what I can do.

“That’s the same for the fans as well, I want to show them the same. I just want to help us to keep going with what we’re all doing right now.”

The only goal on that day came from the spot after when Ethan Chislett was felled inside the area. James Wilson stepped up to thunder the spot kick into the net.

“It’s obviously tough when it comes from a mistake,” he said. “You never want to make mistakes, but I think it’s how you react when there is one that matters. You can either think that the world is ending and everything is the worst thing ever, or you can react positively to it.

“When it happened I felt like, do you know what, I can be bigger here and show everyone that things like that aren’t what I’m about and that I can learn from it. It’s so important not to take it into the next game.

“I think I’ve done that, and we all know that everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being a footballer, but I feel like that if you can learn from them, and rise above them, there’s nothing stopping you.

“It goes without saying we want to keep that type of thing to as low a number of mistakes as possible, and I’ll be trying my hardest to do just that.

“In the next game it was a clean sheet, that’s how to react, and I was quite happy with that. Every footballer has gone through something like it, and if I have a message for any young footballers, it’s to make sure you don’t let any mistakes you make get into your head that badly.

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“You’ve got to make sure that if something happens it makes you an even better player and person. If you’re always playing on the safe side then you’re not learning from anything. You’ve got to help yourself out by learning from everything that doesn’t go right, as well as the good stuff.

“Don’t be afraid of making mistakes because that’s when you go into your little shell. As long as you’re always trying to be a better player, you’ll be fine.”

And it was at the Stevenage away game that he was voted as man-of-the-match by the fans who had made the journey, and by those who had watched on iFollow.

“It’s amazing to see things like that,” he commented. “Like I said, with my dad being such an open person, I know this might sound bad, but I love the attention. I love things like that.

“The fans were raving and telling me that I had a good game, and that’s class, it’s what keeps me going. Obviously we do what we do for the three points, or to get a point away against very tough teams, but we’re in League One now and we’ve got to show the fans that we’re capable of being here and of staying here.”

Rewinding slightly, we wondered how the move to Brunton Park had come about in the first place.

“I was with Morecambe two seasons ago and I thought that was a long way north!” he joked. “I didn’t know there was a place in England that could be even further north, so that’s been a bit interesting.

“Seriously, I was absolutely buzzing. When I found out I was coming to Carlisle I couldn’t have been happier. I knew what the challenge ahead was and what I had to do to show everyone what I’m about.

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“I’m Icelandic, so I love the cold, and it’s the same here. It’s too hot down south so I really am loving it here.”

“The coaches at Reading told me to work hard and go and get games, basically play as many games as I can,” he continued. “I was injured most of last season, but they know what I can do down there.

“They told me to go and get my game time, show them what I can do, so that’s what I’m doing here right now.

“It was the same with my other loan moves, they’ve been massive for me. I’ll say that to any young goalkeeper, go out and get game time because that’s what really develops you as a player.

“Yes, you can train, and you can train as hard as you can, always, but even if it’s non-league or wherever, play games. That’s when you get match experience and that’s how you become the best goalkeeper you can be.

“When I’ve been on my loans it’s helped me out in so many different ways, so I think doing them has been vital. I’ve always just wanted to show everyone what I’m able to do. I back myself, 100%, I know what I can do, and it’s just down to whether or not I can show everyone else that.”

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Rewinding even further, how exactly does a young lad from Iceland end up in Reading in the first place?

“God knows, I don’t even know, that’s a great question, I don’t know,” he joked once again. “I’ve lived in Reading for nine years now and I sound like I’m a cockney, I don’t even know how that’s come about.

“My brother Axel went on trial there, the whole family came over, and me and my little brother were allowed to train with them as well. They must have thought ‘jeez, he’s alright’ so they decided to sign all three brothers. Now I’m the last man standing in the family down there, so there you go.

“Axel is a defender, but I never actually really liked football until I was about 6 or 7. That’s only because he needed someone in goal when he wanted to shoot, so he went, ‘go on Jokull, get yourself in goal’, then I was just saving a couple of shots and I realised I was alright at it!

“It just kind of escalated from there and now I’ve lived in Reading for nine years, so it’s a bit crazy. I signed for another year at Reading before I joined here on loan, but obviously the club is going through a bit of a tough time right now with the owner, the embargos and the points deductions.

“I hope they get everything sorted. Reading has been my boyhood club since I was 12 or 13 and I love the club. I hope everything goes alright because they’re a big club and are really family friendly.

“They’ve helped me out so much and given me so many opportunities. They helped me by letting me come here so I could get some game time, and I hope everything gets sorted for them.”

Next on the agenda is the visit of Derby County on Saturday.

“It’s a massive game, I’m already nervous for it and it’s only Tuesday!” he said. “I’m absolutely buzzing for it, but I’m enjoying every single game.

“We’ve had a couple of tough games away against Stevenage and Lincoln, the home game against Derby will be another tough one, but I’m really excited for it. It’ll be a big crowd and that’s why we love playing football.

“After this weekend I think my main aim for the season is for us to stay in this league, but with the squad we’ve got I think we can push for top ten. I think we showed it against Lincoln, we were unlucky with some decisions that didn’t go in our favour.

“I feel like if we keep doing what we’re doing and stay together then we’ll be alright this season.”

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