STEFAN Schwarz is glad Seb Larsson is continuing the Swedish tradition at Sunderland.
Former Black Cats midfielder Schwarz got a close-up of his former club on Saturday after being appointed as Helsingborgs assistant manager last month.
And Schwarz enjoyed a warm handshake with current Swedish international Larsson following the conclusion of the encounter after the Sunderland midfielder made his first appearance of pre-season.
Schwarz said: “Seb’s a terrific player and a good professional. His right foot is deadly from dead balls.
“For me as a Sunderland supporter and a Swede, I hope he will do well and continue to produce a lot of good performances and help Sunderland to a great season.”
Helsingborgs, currently lying third in the Swedish top flight, prevailed 2-0 against the Black Cats despite resting a handful of players after winning the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Polish side WKS Slask Wroclaw in midweek.
But Schwarz insists Sunderland supporters shouldn’t read too much into the result and believes the Wearsiders are in “good hands” with Martin O’Neill at the helm.
“It’s pre-season still and it’s normal that they still have to improve,” said Schwarz.
“We’re halfway through the season and we rested five or six players who have played a lot of games, but it was a good test for the younger ones.
“If something happens with injuries, we know we can count on them because they helped us to beat Sunderland 2-0, even though it was only pre-season. There were a lot of positives for us.
“It was good to see some old faces as well, there’s not many, but some of the staff.
“It’s still a club in my heart. I spent four great years in the North East so I know they are in good hands with Martin O’Neill.
“There’s a passion for the football in the North East – it’s a special place I think.”
Schwarz, who spent four years at the Stadium of Light after being signed by Peter Reid for a then record £4million in 1999, worked as an agent following the end of his career at Sunderland before returning to his homeland.
After a spell working with the Sweden U21s side, the 43-year-old took up a position with Helsingborgs alongside Norwegian boss Age Hareide “I’m pleased to be back in Sweden because it’s a club with a big, big tradition here in Scandinavia,” he added.
“It’s good being back in club football.
“I’ve been with the Sweden under-21s for the last year-and-a-half, but I got this opportunity and it’s a good experience alongside Age Hareide, who played for Manchester City and was the national coach for Norway as well.
“He’s been a champion in Norway so he’s got a lot of experience and we’re working well together.”