The 25-year-old made his first start for the club in a 3-1 defeat at Norwich last weekend, but Larsson is backing him to be a success at St James’ Park, believing he’s ‘stronger’ than Yedlin and Manquillo and ‘better defensively’ than both.
That said, he insists that the former Amiens full-back may take time to adapt to life in England, asking fans to not judge him too soon.
During his chat with the Chronicle, here’s what Larsson said about his Swedish international teammate, praising his physicality, his ‘engine’ and his strong temperament following his deadline day move from France:
“I think he has the attributes to do well,”
“He is a very powerful guy which is always useful in the Premier League. He is a strong lad, built very well. He doesn’t mind getting involved in the physical side of the game and he has a good engine on him.
“I think that will always help in the Premier League, especially early on when you are trying to adapt.
“The Premier League is a lot more physical than other European leagues. Those things will stand him in good stead.
“He is a good guy. He has his feet firmly on the ground. When a Premier League club comes knocking it is a no-brainer and I don’t think he has hesitated to go.”
Larsson then compared Krafth to Yedlin and Manquillo – two players he’s also played with at Sunderland – believing the club’s new right-back is ‘better defensively’, but warning that he may take time to bed in:
“I think he is different a little bit to them,”
“With DeAndre he is super fast, we all know that. His strongest attribute is his pace.
“I think Emil is a stronger defender. He is better defensively which is always helpful in the Premier League.
“I would say he is a little stronger than those two. He is not as quick, certainly as DeAndre going forward, but he is not a slow guy.
“I am pleased he has got an opportunity. Do I think he will jump straight in and make that spot his own?
“I feel like it will take a little bit of time to bed in.”
With this in mind, it makes you wonder if Krafth may be suited to a less advanced role, suggesting he’d fit better at right-back in a four-man defence – and not as an attacking wing-back?
Finally, Larsson assessed how Krafth could fit into Steve Bruce’s style of management – with the midfielder having also played under Bruce during his time at Sunderland:
“Generally what Steve wants from his players is 100 per cent commitment. He likes to know what he is going to get from his players. That is the feeling I got from him.
“I worked with him for two different spells and for sure I think Emil will adapt and I think he is the type of player he will realise quite quickly what he is going to get from him.
“But then again, I know in the Premier League you don’t have a lot of time. He has the attributes to succeed but it may take a bit of time.
“Playing in the Premier League and for a big club like Newcastle is completely different to playing in the French League.
“The media interest, the crowds, the pressure, I think in that sense you have to give new players a little bit of time.
“But he is an honest player and I think Steve likes that.”
Larsson does state more than once that Krafth will need time to settle into English football, but it sounds like he rates the right-back highly, praising his defensive skills, his engine, his physical strength and his mentality – both on and off the pitch.
Hopefully he can adapt to English football soon after a baptism of fire at Norwich last Saturday.