Burnley's Swedish star Hjalmar Ekdal on wanting to emulate the Koeman, Laudrup, De Boer, Neville and Toure brothers with elder sibling Albin
There aren't many siblings in the history of international football to have featured alongside each other for their countries, but Burnley defender Hjalmar Ekdal is hoping he and brother Albin can become part of that rare phenomenon.
The Swedish stars have both been selected for duty in Janne Andersson's squad for UEFA Euro 24 qualifiers against Belgium and Azerbaijan, both of which will be played at the Friends Arena in Solna.
"I hope we get to play together because that would be the last piece that I'm missing to fulfil," said the Clarets centre back, who signed from Djurgaardens during the January transfer window.
"I hope it happens. It would mean a lot, I've said that to him since turning pro, if we got to play together it would be cool.
"There was a lot of talk in the summer about him going back to Sweden to play with me, but it didn't happen, so I was sad about that, but the hope still lives. If we get to play together in the national team it would be really cool."
While Hjalmar is on his way to the Premier League with Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany as his mentor, Albin is fighting for Serie A survival with Spezia, who are five points clear of 18th place Verona.
The elder brother, 33, left home at an early age to pursue his dream of becoming a professional and went on to spend most of his career in Italy, playing for Juventus, Siena, Bologna, Cagliari and Sampdoria, with a stop-off at Hamburger SV in the Bundesliga.
The pair have spent plenty of time apart throughout their lives, but they've never been closer than they are now. They spend hours on end on the phone together, detailing any developments on and off the pitch.
Speaking to the Burnley Express, Ekdal said: "He's nine years older than me so it hasn't been that much of a rivalry really. He moved to Italy when I was nine so we barely grew up together, even though we had really good contact over the phone.
"I visit him every year. At that point I didn't think that I would end up here and he'd be somebody following me, so the roles have reversed now, which is really cool."
The 24-year-old, who has made nine starts for Burnley in the Championship, scoring on his debut, and contributing to six clean sheets, added: "It's not been in terms of wanting to be like him.
"As soon as I became better at football, and started as a pro in Sweden, he became really important to me. We talk together every day, he follows me and gets daily updates, he wants to be involved as much as he can, which I appreciate.
"He watches my games, he's really critical about my performances, which I also appreciate and I can take that from him. I listen to him every time, so it's good to have a personal trainer who can give me advice.
"It's really nice. Our brotherhood has been the most intense lately, when he's been following me. We're both pros in different areas of the world, he has family with him, which I don't, so it's been good for me to talk to him."