Injuries, tough match load – and a training match that does not mean the whole world: Here you have to save your most important players, Lars Lagerbäck.
Kristoffer Ajer is still doubtful, due to injury. Sander Berge has played everything this autumn for a Sheffield United in adversity, Martin Ødegaard is just back after another injury – and Erling Braut Haaland? He may need a rest, he too, although he is guaranteed to play.
All of these, key players for Norway now, should be saved against Israel, as long as there are two far more important matches later this week and next week. At least from the start. If any of them get a few minutes towards the end, if they wish, it for the national team management take there and then.
It is the away games in the Nations League, against Romania on Saturday and Austria next Wednesday, that are important here. As long as Norway is in a position to win its group, as they are now, then of course this is what matters.
A victory in the Nations League group two, will lead to two things: Norway will get another play-off opportunity for the World Cup – if the original World Cup qualifier goes wrong in 2021 – and Norway will play in the A-pool in the Nations League next time , which will give the best opponents – and thus even greater interest around the national team.
It is so important that the best and most important, those with the greatest strain in club life and who are thus most vulnerable, they must be saved as much as possible.
The four mentioned, young players, Ajer, Berge, Ødegaard and Haaland, have already in the early 20s become key players for the Norwegian A national team for men. And then it goes without saying that Lars Lagerbäck can not take any chances with them in a training match – even if the players definitely want to play.
It also gives Lagerbäck a great opportunity to get a good look at players who deserve a real chance for Norway now: Patrick Berg will never in his life make his way to central midfield. He’s far too football-wise for that. Jens Petter Hauge, with his self-confidence, will show that he has something to do on an A national team, something none of the others have: jerks, the ability to “take off” opponents.
Maybe we can see Marius Lode, the Glimt stopper, take the ball forward as well, in a debut. He has the skills. But you have to show them in battle. Maybe this is the chance. Iver Fossum, Fredrik Midtsjø – maybe this is the chance they get to show that they deserve more than a bench on the national team.
Otherwise, Alexander Sørloth, who has played quite a few minutes in the Bundesliga so far, should get the chance against Israel.
If not, there will soon be speculation …
Possible starting team against Israel: