Martin Ødegaard and Erling Braut Haaland are both players to take notice of and they are still only 20 and 19 years of age. The Double A’s, made up the attacking force of the Norwegian team v. Malta, playing alongside Joshua King.
Martin Ødegaard made his full international debut at the age of 15, five years ago, but it’s just a few months since he was given a clear role in the team by Lars Lagerback, despite being in great form playing in the Dutch league for the last three seasons with Heerenveen and Vitesse.
Norwegian’s are often said to follow “Jantes Lov”, and expression based on skeptical thoughts about bold decisions and self belief. The move Martin Ødegaard made to Real Madrid, not being 100% established as a player in the Norwegian top flight, made most domestic experts, say, no, no, not a good idea.
The fact that a 15 year old moves to Real Madrid has not been a daily affair in Norway, and often youngsters who have set their sights on an abroad adventure, most have returned as “wasted talent” and never managed to climb to the very top.
Strangely no one said anything about Erling Braut Haaland leaving at the age of 18. He is such a big lad, tall and full of muscles, so he looked ready. Being spotted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and signed by Molde, gave Haaland a great opportunity to test the level of Norwegian top flight football, only a year or so back in time.
Haaland made his full international debut v. Malta, after impressing at international youth and U.21 level earlier, also a great start to the season with Salzburg, scoring goals for fun. Against Malta’s 11 men behind the ball approach, he never got on the score sheet, but again a promising start in the 2-0 win at Ullevaal.
The two are an attacking force, with Ødegaard operating from the flank, doing stuff few have seen Norwegian footballers done before, and despite not being at his very best still by far the best player on the field.
Norway will play Sweden in a vital game on Sunday. A difficult away clash at Friends Arena. 40 000 spectators will make this game special, being the first between the neighbor nations at this fantastic arena.
Sweden are the favorites as they are still seen as a better footballing nation, but with Haaland and Ødegaard in a partnership, and hopefully getting a chance to establish that over a number of games, this could be the big breakthrough that would settle this special relationship once and for all.
Early doors and all that, but to see this duo click could be the start of something very special not really seen in Norwegian football before. The potential is huge, and the two young men, will hopefully take the opportunity if Lars Lagerback is bold enough to start with both v. Sweden.
The focus on the young duo could also free up pressure on Joshua King, clearly the one to count most in the game v. Sweden. The 41 capped forward is established in the Premier League and a key player for Eddie Howe at Bournemouth.
A funfact in front of the game v. Sweden is that Martin Ødegaard is playing alongside the Swedish young wonder, Alexander Isak (19), who are on the same type of travel as Haaland and Ødegaard, all of them going for the stars.
Erling Braut Haaland is the first player born in the 19th century to make his full debut for Norway. He is the son of former Leeds United, Man City and Nottingham Forest defender Alf Inge Haaland. Martin Ødegaard is also a son of a former Norwegian footballer, Hans Erik, who played most of his career with Stromsgodset.
Interesting to follow a new and wonderful generation of footballers coming through and could we see “Scandinavia” again bringing forward new Laudrup’s, Zlatan’s and Solskjaer’s getting to the top of the pops in football.