9 goals in 90 minutes, debut at 15, future bright for Norway and their Double A’s

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appointed Manchester United manager, why?

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As Gary Neville predicted, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would during the international break get the permanent contract signed and that happened. Solskjaer has signed a three year deal and can prepare for life in one of the top jobs in football.

His tally of wins is phenomenal and to lose to Wolves in the FA Cup can be a great blessing in disguise. Manchester United might have failed in all three, going forward, but with only two competitions to compete in, it will be possible to get the rest needed to find the perfect end to the season.

He has given players freedom and showed that he trusts them in their choices on the field and of course a number of his wins especially away to Arsenal in the FA Cup and the fantastic achievement in Paris is enough to secure the job, and winning those games predicted for Manchester United to win makes them a clear candidate to finish top four which is probably most important.

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The job is to really shape the squad and get the best players in. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shown at Molde that he was capable of finding talent and bringing players forward, selling them, staying in the top and be competetive. Of course, as Man Utd, Molde was a team just like Man Utd, fighting in the top, despite having a few set backs, as Man Utd have experienced. “Ollie” managed to fix those problems and getting the ship back on track after a terrible start, so he can do this and has the quality to turning things around.

The key for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is getting the best of those he have and not be to eager to change too much, something very different to Norwegian football. In his first reign as manager of Molde, Solskjaer showed some of the same skills as he has done at Man Utd, taking Molde to the top, with no such previous experiences.

He has also pinpointed talent an brought them in and really being able to get this balance perfect and build new teams over and over. This is of course at a much lower leavel. The gap between Man Utd and Molde is huge, but the Norwegian club is a major club in Norway and has been in Europe and Solskjaer’s experience from that competition should not be faulted.

In Norwegian football you have much more rotation in squads and you must be able to bring in the right talent at the right time, something Solskjaer did in the best way possible, being able to balance the logistic of the squad and keeping the team in the top.

Of course if you look at previous people trying to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson, there are high expectations, but in a way with a legendary status as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has among fans, staff and the fact that he has been a coach at the club in the past. He has the DNA and Manchester United in his blood and that certainly is a help.

So this is why the new man has been appointed and hopefully he will be able to take on the challenge. Solskjaer is 46 years of age, no youngster anymore. Sir Alex Ferguson was also 44 when he took over at Old Trafford. Sir Matt Busby was only 35 when he took charge, so he age should not be to worry about.

So why has he been appointed at this point,

  • Results are fantastic
  • Previous experience from winning Championships
  • He’s got Man Utd in his blood
  • Smiling and always positive
  • His work at Molde should not be faulted
  • Able to prepare next season in the best way possible
  • Still in whit a lot of compete about
  • Fans love him

We wish Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all the best in the new life as manager of Manchester United.


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