Alexander Sørloth (25) ended up in conflict with former national team manager Lars Lagerbäck (72). The new boss Ståle Solbakken (53), on the other hand, has in a short time attached a special bond to.
Published:Updated less than 30 minutes ago
According to most player exchanges in the country, Trøndelag was Norway’s best players in all three international matches in March.
He scored the opening goal against Gibraltar and the winning goal against Montenegro. Against Turkey, he was a rare bright spot.
Together with Birger Meling, he was the only one who played all 270 minutes during the collection.
– It’s very fun. I feel I have been given a very important role in the national team. I feel a lot of responsibility and feel I am growing on the sense of responsibility, Sørloth says to VG after coming home to Leipzig, tired after an intense gathering, but ready for Saturday’s top match against Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
That Sørloth delivers on the national team is nothing new: He stands with 11 goal points in the last 11 matches.
But something has changed with Solbakken.
– I had very good contact with Ståle from the start. I feel he has a lot of faith in me. It is not a hocus pocus, but he lets me be part of the process, is a discussion partner and very “hands on”, which suits me very well. I feel about ownership, that I get to take part in it. Ståle talks to everyone, explains one to one and says exactly how he wants it. It is quite rare in today’s international football, says Sørloth and concludes:
– Now I do not just want to win for the team and for my teammates. Now I want to win for the national team manager as well. It’s good to know that.
– Now I feel it is appropriate to ask about Lars Lagerbäck …
– We do not need to go into that much.
New details about the national team’s crisis meeting: Lagerbäck highlighted Sørloth-flause in loud quarrel
Although Sørloth has scored consistently on the national team in the last six months, it is the conflict with Lagerbäck that has created the biggest headlines.
As is well known, the relationship with the previous national team manager ended in a heated dispute that unfolded in public through VG’s revelations and massive media coverage in the days that followed.
– How was it for you?
– It actually went very well. I’m so lucky to have football. In training and combat you do not think of anything else. But if I had gone straight on holiday, I think it would have affected me much more. Then I would have been more in my own thoughts. But as it turned out, it didn’t really affect me very much, says Sørloth.
After a long period of stabbing in RB Leipzig, it has loosened up. He admits that it took “much longer than I thought”. But the last five club games, of which only two from the start, Sørloth has delivered five goal points (two goals, three assists).
– It was perfect timing to be able to bring it into the collection with the national team. I had a lot of energy. And when a new coach arrives, you want to show your best side, he says.
He did. The efforts against Gibraltar, Turkey and Montenegro have been noticed.
– Sørloth has taken huge responsibility for this collection. He was almost the only one who played absolutely everything. He has been a heft, good in the plays, good with the ball. He seems to be doing very well. In the last match I also gave him a freer role where he was allowed to move more down the field. I do not know if I am surprised, but have probably been our best player at this collection, the verdict from Solbakken to VG.
It ended in physical exhaustion against Montenegro, but Sørloth finished with style – a raid that ended with Joshua King slamming the ball into the crossbar.
– The last 20 minutes it was heavy. It was just trying to gather the last forces to create a chance, contribute in defense, squeeze out the last of the lemon, says Sørloth, who was called to battle by a screaming Solbakken on the sidelines:
– He shows tremendous commitment. He saw we were completely on the rim. Then I think it was very nice that he whipped us to take out the very last.
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