Norway for Sweden
After having been heavily linked with the upcoming vacancy with Sweden, Linköping fans were left to breath a sigh of relief when Peter Gerhardsson was announced as Pia Sundhage’s successor but have been dealt a blow today as he’s been unveiled as the new Norway manager.
Having joined Linköping from Malmö LdB in 2012, where he won back-to-back titles, he was installed as Christian Andersson’s assistant before taking full charge for the 2013 season. Having overseen serious growth and development, Sjögren was able to build Linköping into a title winning squad, a handful of third and fourth placed finished in his time with LFC finally culminating in a table-topping season.
Speaking about the move Sjögren expressed his fondness for the "potential" in the Norwegian ranks, with a number of high-profile stars having come out of Norway in recent years. With the likes of Ada Hegerberg, Isabell Herlovsen, Caroline Graham Hansen playing at the highest level across Europe, the squad is packed with attacking talent but hasn’t always fulfilled its’ potential in recent years and it will be Sjögren’s job to find a way of getting the best from the Norwegian side.
With precious little time to really interact with the squad and prepare for the upcoming Euros, the new national coach knows he has a challenge in store but is aware of the task ahead of him. The former LFC man has full backing of the NFF, from Chief of Elite Football Nils Johan Semb who spoke of Sjögren as being the “strongest” of all the candidates they met with. As well as president of the NFF, Terje Svendsen who said he was “looking forward” to working with the Damallsvenskan winning coach.
With a number of upheavals in Norwegian women’s football in recent years, the appointment is seen as a good one that puts the Grasshoppers back on a firm footing ahead of the Euros. Sjögren’s first major outing as Norway’s new boss will be at the La Manga next month when Norway will go up against old rivals, Sweden as well as England.
With the memories of a disappointing World Cup run as well as a failed qualification bid for last European spot at the Rio Olympics still fresh in mind, Norway are in serious need of fresh ideas and a coach that can gel well with the players, maximising their strengths and minimising the obvious problems on the pitch for the Football Girls. With Sjögren at the helm, Norway should have a clear vision of how to play to make them a force to be reckoned with.