The emergency national team impressed a lot against Austria and former national team manager Egil “Drillo” Olsen thinks several have played closer to the squad of the otherwise conservative Lars Lagerbäck.
– It will certainly have consequences. I think Lars was happy with him too, and I think he gets more players on the block – even though he is relatively conservative when it comes to selecting players, Olsen says by phone from the cabin at Haglebu.
He believes that there are two or three players from Leif Gunnar Smerud’s provisional national team who are now joining the fight for a more permanent existence on the A national team, and
Olsen himself was known for pulling some jokers off his hat when he took out troops in the 90s, and is challenged on whether Lagerbäck is a bit conservative.
– I have probably thought a bit of the same, that he is a bit overly conservative. It has its advantages but also its disadvantages. There are some who think it is important to have the same eleven liver all the way. I’m skeptical about that, says “Drillo”.
He thinks it is especially an advantage for a national team to have some rotations to keep the players “warm”, especially after it was seen in Austria that Norway has a good width. However, it is important to find a balance, he believes.
– A little rotation is not to be missed, but it can be too much. I think I never, at least very rarely, played with the same team two games in a row. Very often due to injuries and cards, but I enjoyed bringing forward-thinking new players. I think this match will lead to – that we will see more faces, says Olsen and answers in the affirmative to questions about whether this was a “perfect audition” for players who were initially weighed and found too easy.
VG has reviewed all the changes Lars Lagerbäck has made in his total of 19 national team selections since he took over in 2017 (see fact box). The overview shows that he brings in an average of around four new players to each squad, but that especially in the last two years there have been few completely fresh faces.
VG challenged the national team manager on whether he has been for loyal to the tribe he has built up, and whether or not more should be lifted into the squad.
– Impossible to answer now because we do not know what the status will be in March. Seven of the players yesterday have already attended gatherings, and other new players have joined in the last year. These are Mathias (Normann), Erling (Braut Haaland), Jens Petter (Hauge), Patrick (Berg), Leo (Østigård), Marius (Lode) and Simen (Juklerød). So the dynamics have been quite big for a national team, says national team coach Lars Lagerbäck.
Henning Berg was one of the real bauts in “Drillo’s” fantastic 90s national team, and is absolutely certain that more players are knocking more on the door now than before Wednesday’s match.
– But there will probably not be seven new players in the A squad next time. There are a few notches up to several of the players on the regular national team, especially in the top spot. Are they really better than those who usually play? asks the Omonia Nicosia coach rhetorically.