Niclas Eliasson has always been a player that Bristol City fans have enjoyed watching, but he has stepped up his form so far this season.
Speaking to BristolLive, the winger has revealed how judo has helped him increase his form and take his performances to the next level as a winger this season.
The 23-year-old said: “I’ve done a little bit of body contact work, not really proper judo I’d say, but we’ve done it since last season, once every now and then. A judo session with a coach.
“It helps in getting to know your body and protect the ball. It’s been a good thing.
“It’s in Bristol with a judo trainer. I’ve been doing it with a few of the younger lads who are coming through.
“I don’t think I’ll do any belts [but now he knows Johnson has one – a green belt], that’s a challenge.”
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Eliasson has a league-high seven assists to his name this season, joint-top with West Bromwich Albion midfielder Matheus Pereira, and his displays have been eye-catching despite only starting four times in the league.
Judo is a modern form of martial art which needs great balance upon someone’s body and mind, which means that Eliasson will have been improving his balance when taking men on down the flanks and he won’t be nervous of taking the hit from a defender if he has to.
The Swedish winger has been playing for Bristol City since the summer of 2017 after signing from Norrkoping, and the club are expected to announce that they have taken up the one-year extension of the winger’s contract very shortly.
The judo that Eliasson has been to lately is showing signs of paying off, as his mesmerising individual performance against Huddersfield Town on Saturday impressed everyone watching.
The winger is showing greater balance when he tries to take men on with his quick feet, and he is proving harder to bring down when a defender looks to take the ball off him.
Eliasson will be the first one to admit that the judo is making him a better footballer.