Antonio Nosa destroys: – Completely unique

Antonio Nosa destroys: – Completely unique

– When Erling was 15 and Antonio was 15, I admired Antonio more.

The words go back to Stabæk player developer Gaute Larsen (61), who followed Norway’s new shooting star Antonio Nosa (18) closely when he left Langhus and eventually broke through to Stabæk in 2021.

Dagbladet promised not to leave the quote at the top hanging in the air without explanation, until Larsen had a chance to explain what he meant, before people lined up outside his house carrying torches.

– When you close your eyes and look back to when they were 14-15 years old, I feel like Antonio was a greater talent. I wouldn’t have said it before, because I didn’t want to put pressure on it when I was young, but there’s something radical about it, Larsen tells Dagbladet and continues:

Erling has developed a certain physical toughness that is quite unique, as well as a knack for scoring goals. I’m lucky to have trained both. First and foremost, I’m happy with both of their performances.

Scoring goals: Stabæk was beaten by Bodø/Glimt, but 16-year-old Antonio Nosa’s dream goal was a solid bandage on the wound. Video: Football media.
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Honoring coaches

As for Larsen, he was Haaland’s head coach when the powerful striker trained in the fall of 2015 and earned the chance to join Brian’s first team in 2016. He has yet to score any goals in the league (16 appearances – two since the start), and first got his breakthrough for Molde in the year 2017.

– That’s why I say, a little shyly, that Antonio is the greatest talent I’ve coached, because when you have a player who wins the treble and a player who’s on the rise, that shouldn’t be completely taken out of the context here. But the potential to become a real top player, I can guarantee that. Larsen says Antonio has superior skills.

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Larsen has more than 30 years of experience in football in Norway. He sees three things in particular that make Haaland and Nosa excel at a young age.

What they have in common, given they are slightly different types of players, is that they are both incredibly committed to football. They are both very curious about constantly improving and developing themselves. They therefore have the characteristic that they absorb learning, receive feedback, gain experience, and can adapt – and they do so quickly. If you ask what makes some talent so good, it’s the three things they’ve experienced, Larsen says.

It is not abnormal for players to develop differently. Some come into full bloom earlier than others, and that doesn’t mean they’re able to maintain that start. Meanwhile, Larsen will highlight the “invisible” helpers behind Haaland’s – and perhaps Nosa’s – success stories.

Behind every talent there are many coaches. I’m lucky that I was in the right position when they hacked, and then the focus became on me. There are coaches in Langos who did their job before Antonio came to Stabaek, and that is the case with Erling, as I know several coaches he worked with at Bryne, who also contributed to his career. It is important. And not least, Larsen says it’s the players themselves who are doing their job.

Large format: Stabæk’s Antonio Nosa added two goals for Stabæk against Viking. Video: Football media.
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Norway gapes

Delivered from the beginning

Returning to Nosa, who truly introduced himself to the Norwegian people with a goal in his first appearance with Norway against Jordan, and caused chaos at times and scored two assists against Georgia.

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On Saturday, he scored a stunning goal from a long shot after a routine dribble, as Club Brugge, led by Ronny Deila, won 4-2.

Sorry if you don’t know the 18-year-old well before, as he didn’t play many games at Stabæk before Club Brugge came knocking on Nadderud’s door and pocketed a fee that both clubs were happy with.

Larsen and the rest of Stabæk’s support staff have followed the youngster since he played for Langhus in the 2016/17 season when he was 13-14 years old. In January 2021, he was allowed to train with the first team at Stabæk and performed “excellently”, according to Larsen.

Larsen told Stabæk coach Jan “Janne” Jönsson that Nosa should be allowed to train with the team for two weeks to see if he could handle the level. The great talent lived in Langos, there was a Corona pandemic with the regiments and the management, and Larsen had to convince his parents to take him out of school – which is not always easy.

Larsen himself ended up driving Noosa to and from training during those two weeks.

-After 14 days, he took the level straight away and started to dominate. Then Jan said: “Got, I want it permanently,” Larsen recalls.

Norway has escaped terror

Norway has escaped terror

Paid daily for training

But there were some rocks in the sea, because Noosa had spent the last six months in high school. Larsen convinced his parents to let Nosa study at home, while he trained with Stabæk until the summer. For four months, Larsen drove him back and forth between Baerum and Langos.

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– He ended up improving his grades from Christmas to summer, and it was amazing, says Larsen, who describes the 18-year-old as follows:

– I couldn’t just talk about training every day, so we talked in general about life and everyday life. He’s a very optimistic boy, polite, humble, a little humble, but at the same time he radiates a lot of security, says Larsen and continues:

-We got to know each other well, so we have a good relationship to this day. We talk every 14 days. After the international match, I congratulated him and got a response.

Stabæk already had plans to sell Nusa in the summer of 2022. He was going to live with another Stabæk player and attend football training at NTG. This plan failed ten days later at Peixtoa.

– Sometimes things go faster than you think, and sometimes they go slower. Borouge has done serious research. They ran for it and literally kept it. It was a good contract for him and good money for Stabæk, so a win-win for all parties, Larsen concludes.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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