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Page last updated at 21:21 GMT, Tuesday, 10 August 2010 22:21 UK

Sweden coach backs returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has fun with his Sweden team-mates
Ibrahimovic (third from left) is delighted to be back for Sweden

Sweden coach Erik Hamren is delighted that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has come out of international retirement ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Scotland.

"It's tough to say he had an up-and-down season," said Hamren about the enigmatic Spanish-based striker.

"Because, in my opinion, he had a good season in his first year at Barcelona.

"He is looking forward to coming back to the Swedish team and I'm sure we will have a lot of energy and quality when he is back."

Ibrahimovic retired from international football following Sweden's failure to qualify for this summer's World Cup but is back to boost their chances of qualifying for Euro 2012.

To play in England one day - absolutely

Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Lars Lagerback also resigned as coach following that disappointment and Hamren took over in November, initially while still coaching Rosenborg before later deciding to concentrate on the national side.

"For me, it has to come from the player's heart," said Sweden's new coach when asked about the 28-year-old striker's commitment.

"As a coach, I can help, of course. But, if it's not coming from themselves, you can be the best player in the world, but if you're not motivated it's not going to be good for the team.

"He has taken the decision to play for Sweden and wants to do his best for Sweden and we are all really happy."

Ibrahimovic, who is expected to start against Scotland, has refused to rule out a move to English football one day - but insists he has no intention of quitting Barcelona any time soon.

Sweden coach Erik Hamren
Hamren has taken charge after leaving Rosenborg

He joined the Catalan giants last summer from Inter Milan in what was the second most expensive transfer in football history.

He has since been linked with both Manchester City and Chelsea and, although flattered by the speculation, the striker claims he is happy at the Nou Camp despite mixed reviews of his first season there.

"The whole summer, it has been a new club every day," said Ibrahimovic.

"I'm very happy there is an interest in me, but I have four years more with Barcelona and I will not leave Barcelona because I am very happy there and I play with the best team in the world.

"I'm very happy to stay there. But, if clubs are interested in me, I take it as a compliment. It means I'm doing a good job.

"To play in England one day - absolutely. I feel I can give much more and I can still develop.

"You never know what happens in football, in 24 hours a lot of things can change."


Sweden squad

Goalkeepers: Andreas Isaksson (PSV Eindhoven), Johan Wiland (FC Copenhagen)
Defenders: Andreas Granqvist (Groningen), Mikael Lustig (Rosenborg), Daniel Majstorovic (AEK Athens), Olof Mellberg (Olympiacos), Behrang Safari (Basel), Oscar Wendt (FC Copenhagen)
Midfielders: Emir Bajrami (FC Twente), Kim Källström (Olympique Lyonnais), Sebastian Larsson (Birmingham City), Martin Olsson (Blackburn Rovers), Anders Svensson (Elfsborg), Pontus Wernbloom (AZ Alkmaar), Christian Wilhelmsson (Al Hilal), Tobias Hysén (IFK Gothenburg)
Forwards: Marcus Berg (PSV Eindhoven), Johan Elmander (Bolton Wanderers), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona), Ola Toivonen (PSV Eindhoven)



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