INTILITY ARENA / ULLEVAAL STADION (Nettavisen): It started out that Vålerenga needed the kinds of leaders in the stable, but later turned into a problem that Joacim Jonsson believes Norwegian football is facing.
Vålerenga’s director of sports shouts a warning, and comes with a clear message to the Norwegian Football Association.
We no longer train types of leaders, which has changed a lot over time. It’s a huge problem in Norwegian football, and the development departments and the National Football Association must do something about it now, he told Nettavisen.
On the other hand, Håkon Grøttland Head of Player Development at NFF recognizes that there is an improvement.
– We have started the procedures, so we are about to see the emergence of new leaders, he told Netavizin.
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– Now it’s time
The VIF captain believes that the development model in Norwegian football limits the natural leadership development of players.
Young players in football today do not get a chance to become leaders. When you are 16 you are transferred to the 19-year-old team, and when you are 17-18 you are transferred to the first team. This means that players are always a little “underpowered”, and are never trained as the only ones on the team. There are hierarchies in the soccer wardrobe, says Johnson.
The NFL focused on developing attackers, goalkeepers and other parts of the field, but the leaders didn’t think about it and didn’t control it. Now is the time to deal with the leaders in football, because there is almost no one in Norwegian football. I’m afraid there will be fewer and fewer as well.
Should the training exercises for younger players be discontinued then?
– I don’t have the answer to that, but I wish I had. It’s going to be a balancing act as you have to allow talent to be heads too. Now it mostly allows them to search for the next level. Yes, they should, but they should be allowed to feel their best. In terms of development, it’s a good thing, but to develop leaders, there is no advantage to challenging players on a level.
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Håkon Grøttland told Nettavisen that the Norwegian Football Association was aware of the shortage, but is seeing a positive development.
– You can be a leader in different ways. Some are noisy and say clearly at all times, others the so-called “quiet leader”. We’re always looking for those qualities and looking for “a little extra.” He takes responsibility and cares more about himself.
– What steps are you taking to bring this out in different clubs?
– We give instructions to moderate the intensity of the coaches in the daily exercises, so that the players themselves take more responsibility in the game situations. Some coaches are so energetic that in many ways they stifle the players’ opportunity to become leaders.
Improving the national team
Early in his career as national team manager, Ståle Solbakken advocated more types of leadership in the men’s team, but many players realize the topic is off.
We are starting to achieve more in the national team, but you should always strive to achieve more in Norwegian football. I think we’ve taken steps under Ståle, national team goalkeeper Andreas Hansch Olsen told Nettavisen.
Hanche-Olsen became captain of his childhood club Stabæk at the age of 21, and took a leadership role in Ghent, Belgium.
– When you take a step up, you are forced to take the level and become tougher, which are also factors that come into play to become a leader. To become a good leader, it would be a good experience to be the smallest in a group and to bear the pressure that can be on him.
– Should I be careful about letting young players try at higher levels, at the risk of harming driving skills?
– I have no idea if one should be more careful with the training programme, because I think it is an important part of developing skills at an early age. If you have the personality of a leader, you will also be in the long run. Ståle cares about the need to take steps in this area, and it is one of the steps we take to build ourselves up as a group.
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Christian Thorstedt agrees with his national teammate:
I think it’s completely different from player to player. Some have it naturally, while others develop it throughout their career. “I’ve noticed that we have a lot in the national team here now,” the Genk player told Netavizen.
NFF’s Grøttland understands that some people think there are fewer leaders, because the leadership role has evolved. Nor does he believe that a lack of hospitality for young and talented players is the solution to the “leadership problem”.
Martin Odegaard is a captain, he has always played with great players. There’s no final decision on that either, so I guess you can play with your seniors and peers. Hospitality may not be an issue, but today’s football is much more organized. The game is a bit over, so fewer people are getting a chance to control themselves. He concludes that adults control everything, which can be devastating in the long run.
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