Select Page

Norway face the Faroe Islands and Malta in upcoming European championship qualifiers and Lars Lagerbäck had initially included Fulham’s Stefan Johansen in the squad for this month’s fixtures.

On Friday, the Norwegian football association confirmed three players will miss November’s international break due to injuries and the Cottagers midfielder was included in the list.

Fulham took on Birmingham City on Saturday and Scott Parker started the 28-year-old in his side’s 1-0 win in the league. Johansen played the full 90 minutes a day after withdrawing from the national team squad due to injury.

The English club’s decision to field the player hasn’t gone down well in Norway, with Lagerbäck’s assistant Per Joar Hansen left surprised.

“He has a swelling in his knee. Now we have realised that he played today. The reason he reported injured was that he was initially going to use the international break to get rid of that swelling,” Per Joar Hansen told TV2.

“It is only the club that can answer why he played, but it was surprising to us that he played today.”

Norway’s physiotherapist Thomas Ødegaard explains Johansen’s omission from the national team was a collective decision taken to allow him recover during the international break.

“The omission was a common decision between Johansen, the national team and Fulham,” Ødegaard said.

“It is the best for him during this period when he has struggled with a knee that needs rest. It will benefit Johansen, Fulham and the national team in the future, so this is a decision everyone agrees on.

“Sometimes it is necessary to step in when needed. He did that today [against Birmingham].”