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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Norway fine with Haaland’s partying ahead of big European Championship qualifier

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OSLO, June 17 (AP): First there was a big party in Ibiza. Then came the bare-chested celebrations aboard an open-top bus in a city-center trophy parade.
Erling Haaland has been front and center — along with Jack Grealish — in Manchester City’s treble-winning festivities, and that’s no problem for Norway coach Stale Solbakken despite a huge European Championship qualifier coming up for his country on Saturday.
“I think everyone understands that and I also think it’s a good idea to do that,” Solbakken said Friday of Haaland’s partying since City won the Champions League for the first time on Saturday to complete the treble of major trophies.
“I don’t think,” Solbakken added, “you can postpone a celebration like that. You can’t say, ‘Let’s meet up in the summer when these national games are over and we party.’ It’s not the same because the excitement is a little bit out of your body and you have to do it then.”
Haaland is expected to play for Norway against Scotland in Oslo, with Solbakken having taken it easy on the striker in training this week, more concerned with ensuring the City star recharges.
Solbakken believes a homecoming welcome will lift Haaland, who last played for Norway in September. Without him, the Norwegians have collected just one point from their first two games in European Championship qualifying and are already struggling to reach a first international tournament since Euro 2000 — which took place a few weeks before Haaland was born.
“Obviously the Norwegian people have seen him on telly for a long time without seeing him live,” Solbakken said. “I think he has had one game here in a year.
“So that will probably pump him up and give him the 5-10% he probably lacks due to the program he has been through and all the feelings and emotions he has been through as well.”
England coach Gareth Southgate said he wouldn’t be playing any of the five Man City players in his squad for Friday’s match against Malta.
Solbakken cannot be that picky when it comes to Haaland. He thinks the striker is ready, anyway.
“When he came here, he didn’t look like he had gone the Grealish way,” Solbakken said, referring to the England winger who was pictured having drinks poured down his throat amid City’s celebrations.
“If Grealish managed to train for England the first time, he (Haaland) should also manage to do it for us.”

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttp://www.thehillstimes.in
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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