Scouting report on David Mitov Nilsson

David Mitov Nilsson; photo: allsvenskan.seWith goalkeeper David Mitov Nilsson choosing to represent Macedonia, we caught up with someone who follows Norrköping to learn more about the player.

Last week, David Mitov Nilsson was selected in the Macedonian squad for the upcoming two qualifiers against Ukraine and Belarus. With that, Mitov Nilsson pledged his national team future to Macedonia. The goalkeeper position is incredibly important, even more so since the current starter, Tome Pachovski, is 33 years old. These could very well be Tome’s last qualifications in the Macedonian jersey, so finding a quality successor is paramount.

The 24-year-old Nilsson was a familiar name to most readers on this site, but there were still a lot of unanswered questions. What is his playing style? What are his strengths and weaknesses? How has he performed over the past couple of seasons? How did he become available to Macedonia?

To get those questions answered, we got in touch with Mårten Mellberg, who runs That site is dedicated to covering Norrköping, including topics that sometimes get ignored by the local media.

This is what Mellberg told us about Milsson’s career with Norrköping and Sweden’s national team:

“David Mitov Nilsson (DMN) had his breakthrough in the Swedish top division, Allsvenskan, in the autumn of 2012 when he became the first choice keeper of IFK Norrköping. Both he and the club had a strong end to that season (league generally starts in late March/early April and ends in late October/early November). The team ended 5th in the league.

In January of 2013, Nilsson was called to represent the national team of Sweden in some friendly matches. Every year, in January, the manager of the national team calls the best players from the Scandinavian leagues, who are in pre-season, to play some friendly matches, in for example South Africa, Qatar or Thailand.

However, the 2013 and 2014 campaign was less fortunate for both David and the team. In September of last year, with about 8 matches left in the league, Norrköping was close to relegation and the defense overall had been poor. The manager, Janne Andersson, then chose the other goalkeeper, Marcus Sahlman, and made several other changes. IFK did manage to stay in the top division.

In the beginning of 2015, Janne Andersson said that he hadn’t decided who would be the starting goalkeeper. So, during the pre-season matches, Mitov Nilsson and Sahlman both played every second match. Unfortunately for Sahlman, he got injured during training and Mitov Nilsson became Janne Andersson’s first choice.

During this season, David has improved more and more – perhaps because of the new, young goalkeeper coach Maths Elfvendal – and he is definitely one of the best GK’s in the league. However, the competition in the Swedish national team is tough. The starter, Andreas Isaksson, is still going strong. Furthermore, despite Isaksson being 34 years old, he might play for several more years. Behind him, there are at least three goalkeepers who feature abroad in better leagues then the Allsvenskan.

I believe that choosing Macedonia was a wise decision from David.”

Next, we asked Mårten about David’s strengths and areas that he needs to improve. This is what Mellberg told us:

“I think David has really good physique for a keeper. He’s 190 cm tall, making him big enough to have good range but also not too tall to affect his ability to get down and save shots that are low. David has good reflexes and his aforementioned physique makes it possible for him to throw himself and make spectacular saves, even on well-placed shots.

One thing that I believe Mitov Nilsson needs to work on are how he plays corners and crosses into the penalty area. He has shown a tendency to stay too long on the goal line. Another area that can use improvement is how he approaches different situations, for instance when he should stay back and when he should come out (kind of the same problem as with the corners and crosses).

But, I must say that he has improved on this during the season. In the beginning of the campaign, it was a problem that everyone could see. Now it’s much better.

The last thing that I would bring up as an area for growth is his communication with defenders. At IFK Norrköping, the central defender Andreas Johansson – captain and one of the best players – takes the leading role on defense, which means that David doesn’t need to be the boss here. Perhaps in another environment, David will need to assume that role, which certainly will be good for his development.”

Again, we want to thank Mårten Mellberg for his help. He can be found at his website,, or on twitter at

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