England win gives summer signing Gudmundsson belief ahead of Premier League campaign

England's trials and tribulations in the European Championships, exacerbated by Iceland's cool approach in the knockout stages, has given summer signing Johann Berg Gudmundsson the appetite for more giant killings in the Premier League.

Wednesday, 10th August 2016, 10:30 pm
Johann Gudmundsson comes under pressure as he tries to make an opening against Real Sociedad. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

The 25-year-old was instrumental in his nation’s unprecedented success in France, missing just four minutes of the campaign as Heimir Hallgrímsson’s underdogs reached the quarter-final stages against the odds.

The former Charlton Athletic winger reflected on the tournament when pressed by the media following his arrival at Turf Moor, but he accepts that the aforementioned chapter of his life needs to be put on the back-burner.

“I need to get over it because I’m at a new club and you don’t want to be too long in that situation,” said Gudmundsson, who is fighting for a spot in Sean Dyche’s starting XI for Saturday’s opener against Swansea City.

Johann Gudmundsson runs at the Real Sociedad defence. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

“We celebrated a lot when we came back to Iceland with all the fans and had a good night out there and then I went on a vacation and got back to ground.

“It happened so you’ve got to believe it. It was obviously a magical moment, especially for the Icelandic nation.

“The Premier League is the biggest league in Iceland. Everybody watches it so to beat England was something we all dreamed of doing and after the game it was quite surreal that we did it.”

Gudmundsson, who started his career with AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Eredivisie, was genuinely apologetic after the result at the Allianz Riviera in Nice led to the departure of head coach Roy Hodgson.

Johann Gudmundsson runs at the Real Sociedad defence. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

However, he understands that it’s the nature of the beast with any team that is seen to be under-performing.

“I’m sorry about that,” he said. “That’s football. It’s a cruel game sometimes. Obviously for England it’s not the nicest to lose against Iceland, that’s for sure, and it must have been tough to take.

“They’ve got talented players but it’s about bringing it out on the pitch. As underdogs there was no pressure on us in that game but, to be fair, they shouldn’t be losing against us.

“We had a great game plan, we worked for each other, we were willing to run the whole 90 minutes.

“You can’t really say what it is going on with England. They’ve got these talented players but they can’t produce what they should be doing. We were just better on the day.”

Gudmundsson can identify similarities between club and country and he feels that culture, along with the same values and principles, could see the Clarets prosper in the top flight.

“We always believe in our team,” he said. “We believed we could knock England out. We just kept back, played solid defence and hit them on the counter-attack and they didn’t really have a solution to break our defence down. I thought we had the game totally under control.”

He added: “We are quite similar. We play 4-4-2 both teams. We work hard, we are willing to run all day long.

“There are similarities definitely. We are probably underdogs in the Premier League but that doesn’t matter. Leicester were underdogs last year and they won the league.

“In football you can do great things with a good team spirit and players who are willing to do everything their gaffer says. As long as we win games I’m happy.”