Former team-mate reveals how Melker Hallberg will make Hibs tick
Melker Hallberg will bring a mixture of steel, energy and presence to Hibs’ engine room, according to his most recent midfield partner.
The 23-year-old Swede moved to Easter Road last week on a three-year contract after leaving Vejle BK at the end of last season following their relegation from the Danish Superliga.
Hallberg, who previously spent four years on the books of Italian Serie A side Udinese, is viewed as a player who can bolster a midfield which has lacked genuine authority since the departure of Mark Milligan and Marvin Bartley over the summer.
While the Scandinavian is not an out-and-out holding midfielder, he possesses all the attributes required to shield his defence when required.
“Melker is a No.6 or a No.8 – he has all the qualities to play both,” said Jacob Schoop, who played in the same midfield as Hallberg at Vejle last season. “He’s good defensively and offensively. He’s a hard-working player who is good on the ball and has a good shot on him. He likes to get around the pitch. He can make good long passes and is also good with his short passes. He’s a complete modern midfielder.”
Although Vejle were relegated last term, one of the highlights of the campaign for Schoop was playing alongside Hallberg, who made 27 appearances, including 18 as a starter, during his season in Denmark. “Melker had an injury when he first came to us so he didn’t play so much at the start but after that he played a lot,” Schoop said. “Me and him played in the middle together in a 4-2-3-1 and for me that was when we played our best football of the season. I really enjoyed playing beside him. We had a really good relationship on the pitch and I felt like we made each other play better. We could both defend and attack and we always knew where each other was on the pitch so we worked well together.”
After four years with Udinese, where he made five appearances but was unable to establish himself, Hallberg still harbours big ambitions. After rejecting the chance to stay with Vejle and play in Denmark’s second tier, the Swede has chosen Scotland as his latest port of call in a career which has already taken him to Sweden, Italy, Norway and Denmark.
“I’m pretty sure he would have stayed with Vejle if we didn’t get relegated,” said Schoop. “But he has ambitions to play at a higher level and he has the ability to do that. There’s no reason he shouldn’t do well in Scotland. He’s definitely good enough and he has a good mentality and a good temperament so I don’t see why he won’t fit in well to the Scottish league. He’s a fantastic guy off the pitch as well. I think it’s a good move for him.”