🇳🇴 Euro 2022 Player to Watch: Ada Hegerberg | OneFootball

🇳🇴 Euro 2022 Player to Watch: Ada Hegerberg

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OneFootball

Padraig Whelan


She’s back.

This summer, the eyes of everyone at Euro 2022 will be focused on one Norway player in particular as Ada Hegerberg makes her long-awaited return to international competition.

After a five-year absence due to frustrations over the direction of the women’s game in her homeland which left her “mentally broken”, the 26-year-old is back at last and with her addition, Norway have to be considered contenders.

Even as a teenager in 2013, she helped Norway in their run to the European Championship final and was again integral two years later at the World Cup, where she won Best Young Player honours.

During her time away from the international scene, the Lyon forward suffered an ACL injury which sidelined her for 18 months but upon her return for her country in April this year, she showed exactly why she was so badly missed.

In her first game back, Hegerberg settled in instantly with a hat-trick against Kosovo and will be vital to any hopes of Norwegian success in England this summer.

“She has performed to a world-class standard and delivered goal after goal on the biggest football stages for a number of years,” said Norway boss Martin Sjögren after that return. “Of course, getting her back means a lot to the Norwegian national team.”

She is almost certain to add to her outstanding scoring record of 42 goals in 69 international caps, coming off the back of a season in which she bagged 16 for Lyon as they reclaimed domestic and Champions League honours in style; Hegerberg scored and assisted against Barcelona in the final of the latter.

Most dauntingly of all in her comeback campaign, Hegerberg didn’t appear to be carrying any rust from her serious injury and looked as lethal as she had beforehand.

She possesses the enviable characteristic of appearing to be invisible to defenders in the penalty area until the moment she moves to strike and the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner is ruthless from anywhere inside the penalty area. That’s particularly the case in the air, where she consistently proves she is one of the finest headed finishers in the game.

It is that unstoppable ability to find the back of the net time after time which puts her top of the all-time Women’s Champions League goalscoring charts and she also reached 50 European goals faster than any other player in either the women’s or men’s game.

With four major titles to their name Norway have long been one of the most prestigious names in the international game, but they haven’t tasted success since Olympic gold in 2000. Hegerberg’s decision to return could change that.

“I love football and I want to play football. I took a decision in 2017 that I stood by but I had lot of time to reflect over the past two years, on many aspects,” she said of her decision to re-enter the fold.

“I had very honest discussions with the federation, firstly through Lise [Klaveness, Norwegian Football Federation president]. I’m very glad to be able to come back with the team and get a new story started.”

It is a story that the world will be watching.