Even big games in the Champions League group stage were not enough to give Tokmac Nguen (27) a place on the Norwegian national team.
The Ferencváros wing sighs when VG asks him about a reaction to the fact that he was not selected in Lars Lagerbäck’s last national team squad for the year. He says he was training during the withdrawal, but found out about the wreck because “the phone exploded” from messages from annoyed friends and family.
– What should I say? I do not have much more to say than that I am starting to get tired of these questions. I do not feel it is I who should answer. I do what I have to do on the pitch, and have done so for a long time, but it’s not good enough for them. I just have to accept that, says Nguen, who admittedly has more on his mind about the case.
Nguen has a Sudanese father and an Ethiopian mother, but was born in Kenya and came to Norway when he was five years old. He has international matches for Norway at G18 and G19 level, but has the opportunity to represent both South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya at A-level. He delivered 30 goal points in 84 games in the Elite Series for Strømsgodset and Mjøndalen before his career really gained momentum after the transfer to Hungary in 2018.
This fall, he scored three goals and delivered a goal-scoring pass in the Champions League qualifier. In the group stage, he still has the big game: Goal-scoring pass and big game at Camp Nou against Barcelona, scoring against Dinamo Kiev.
– He is part of our 35-man squad, but of the type of player he represents, there are three others we consider better, Lagerbäck said at the press conference on Monday – and probably referred to Jens Petter Hauge, Mohamed Elyounoussi and Martin Ødegaard.
In addition, national team captain Stefan Johansen, who is used as a left winger by Lagerbäck, has been taken out of the squad despite the fact that he is not registered in Fulham’s Premier League squad and thus cannot play club matches until the new year at the earliest.
Nguen says he is “disappointed” that he has not been taken out, but that he is not surprised.
– I will be honest and say that as long as I have played football, I have always had to go a long way than most. I’m personally not shocked that this is happening. I was not the last either. There is nothing that shocks me. My career has been long and full of detours, and this is another detour I obviously have to take, says the 27-year-old.
– Is it extra heavy when this was the last gathering of the year and you are in the middle of a Champions League group game?
– If not now, then it never is, really. That’s how I look at it. Now they have made a choice. I have to interpret it somehow, but I keep it to myself.
– What do you put in it?