ULLEVAAL / BODØ (VG) Lars Lagerbäck (72) takes out two debutants in the squad for the European Championship playoffs against Serbia. Jens Petter Hauge (20) and Leo Skiri Østigård (20) are promoted from the U21 national team.
The national team manager presented Hauge as one of four attacking players in the squad, together with Alexander Sørloth, Erling Braut Haaland and Joshua King.
– I got to try myself as a striker against the Netherlands U21, and it is a role I thrive in. I can also play in a four in the middle. You have to adapt, says Hauge at a press conference at Aspmyra.
He thinks it’s smart not to lock himself into a role. Lagerbäck, known for his preference for 4-4-2, warned that he may surprise Serbia – and even mentioned formation choices as a way to do it.
At the same time, he asked the assembly not to put too much into Hauge being categorized as an attacking player.
The withdrawal did not come as a big surprise on the Glimt wing, who will probably have to pull the trigger before he gets the top spot from the start for Norway.
– I have talked a bit with Erling (Braut Haaland), and he thought I was going to be taken out, Hauge says about the first step, a place in the squad.
Glimt must lose six of the last 11 to “lose” the gold
The 20-year-old from Bodø has impressed for the superb league leader this season and delivered a brilliant performance in the Europa League qualifier against Milan on Thursday this week.
It was rewarded with a promotion from the U21 to A national team for the Glimt player.
– He has a little x-factor and we do not have many of that type of player, says Lagerbäck about Hauge and describes the x-factor as follows:
– One on one offensively. To challenge, he can go both left and right and is quite nimble. There you have his big x-factor. Then I do not know him personally, but from what I have heard he seems to be mentally strong. It must be to succeed at this level.
Take some small chances now, Lagerbäck
Lagerbäck denies that the Milan settlement was decisive for the withdrawal.
– It is more his development after the league started. After the corona, he has taken steps and developed, says the Swede.
Ole Selnæs is also this time left out of the national team squad. The players in the Chinese league have been subject to strict corona restrictions, and have not been allowed to meet their families since July. Lagerbäck admits that the 26-year-old “normally would have been in the squad”.
Take some small chances now, Lagerbäck
Østigård is lifted up
Lagerbäck presented the 26-man squad on Monday morning. The Swede has taken out more players than he usually has in previous troops. The reason is both the corona pandemic and that the national team will play three matches in a short time.
U21 midfielder Leo Skiri Østigård will also be rewarded with an opportunity with the A national team when they play three matches in a short time at the beginning of October.
In the defense, Stefan Strandberg and Sigurd Rosted are also back in the national team heat. In addition, Martin Ødegaard will now get rid of the knee problems that kept him out of the previous national team squad.
Norway will play three matches at Ullevaal Stadium between 8 and 14 October.
Serbia will first wait in the semi-finals of the European Championship playoffs on Thursday 8 October. Then two matches await against Romania (October 11) and Northern Ireland (October 14) in the Nations League, which thus has something to say for the qualification for the World Cup in 2022.
Are you struggling to understand the Nations League concept? Then you should check this:
Here is the whole squad:
Keepers: Rune Almenning Jarstein, Ørjan Håskjold Nyland, André Hansen
Defense: Kristoffer Vassbakk Ajer, Haitam Aleesami, Omar Elabdellaoui, Martin Linnes, Birger Meling, Tore Reginiussen, Sigurd Rosted, Stefan Strandberg, Jonas Svensson, Leo Skiri Østigård
Midfield: Patrick Berg, Sander Berge, Mohamed Elyounoussi, Markus Henriksen, Stefan Johansen. Fredrik Midtsjø, Mathias Normann, Morten Thorsby, Martin Ødegaard
Attack: Erling Braut Haaland, Jens Petter Hauge, Joshua King, Alexander Sørloth.
The Serbian squad for the European Championship playoffs was presented last week. It became clear that the Serbs will come to Ullevaal without Manchester United star Nemanja Matic.