Kjetil Knutsen became Solbakken’s good assistant
Written by Knut Espen Svegaarden
ULLEVAAL STADION (VG) could have reached six players quickly, but on Tuesday at least Ståle Solbakken pulled out his fifth Bodø/Glimt player in the national team. And it all happened in just over eight months.
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Last: the name of the national team coach, Ola Solbakken.
Well, players in the top foreign leagues are still the most important, but national team coach Ståle Solbakken has at least received a lot of help from Kjetil Knutsen in recent months. The original Bergen player at Bodo now leads the national team coach from Grue with players at a speed not seen in many years.
The closest I can come to it was a short period of Bran’s dominance in the national team, around 2007. Otherwise we have to go back to Rosenborg in the 90s to find national teams with several players from one of the clubs in the Norwegian league. .
It tells a lot about the work that Kjetil Knutsen and his team have done in Bodø over the past four years. It’s also a tribute to the Norwegian league that Solbakken still brings in players with club names with æ, ø and å.
Thus Ola Solbakken is the fifth player from Glimt to be included in the “Stall Solbakken”. I quickly think he would have been number six, without Ulrich Saltens injured earlier this year. Without it, the Saltens would have been in the October games, as well, and as dangerous as a few quarterbacks, when he was injured.
“I think it often happens when injuries are, when you are at your best. It’s a theory,” former Liverpool defender Weigard Heijm said in an interview with VG in 2017.
There may be something in it: first the Saltnis, then Patrick Berg and now Frederic Bjorkan they were injured in a period where they may not have been better than ever.
Berg was the logical choice for Staal Solbakken, in his first squad at the end of March, as Berg dominated in a fierce Glimmt 2020 season. But in the squad, and making his debut, was also midfielder Marius Lodi. Both have mostly held their places on the team, although Lode hasn’t had a place in the eleven since. Berg has played nine matches at national level now, and is so important that Ståle Solbakken reserves a place for him – if recovery from injury is expected in time for the meetings with Latvia and the Netherlands later this month.
In June, Friedrich Bjorkan, deservedly, got the chance, and now has two national matches. In September, Eric Bothem joined the squad, and while he didn’t get a few minutes, it’s probably an acknowledgment of the job Kjetil Knutsen does at Bodø/Glimt: They make good enough footballers also on the international stage.
Many of them showed it in the international matches played by Glimt. Kjetil Knutsen and his team managed to raise the level of their players, even in the domestic league, they even managed to challenge foreign professionals as a place in the national team squad.
System guy, and rightfully so: Ola Solbakken – a rare type of player actually. You won’t find a lot of wingspans that are physically strong, 188cm, fast, technical and with crazy strength on the left foot.
Solbakken is a player who can make a difference, whether against Latvia or the Netherlands. Therefore, Ståle Solbakken is entirely entitled to take out Ola Solbakken in the national team squad.
And both Solbakken can send a salute to Kjetil Knutsen in Bodø for the way he has raised Norwegian football in the past three seasons.
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