Erling Haaland’s Norway Manager Takes a Shot at Pep Guardiola: ‘He Ran Around Like a Fool’

For the first time in history, the World Cup will be played in November and December. The sweltering summer temperatures in Qatar made playing the world’s biggest soccer tournament in its usual June and July spot untenable. This will make the 2022 World Cup matches safer and more comfortable for the player, but it also presents other problems. One is that the tournament will happen smack dab in the middle of the season for most European professional leagues. This dynamic highlights how club and national team coaches are often at odds over how to use the best players in the world. A recent example of this comes from Norway’s manager β€” who is not even in the World Cup β€” taking shots at Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola for his use of superstar striker Erling Haaland. 

Norway manager Stale Solbakken doesn’t like how Pep Guardiola uses Erling Haaland

Under the best conditions, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola doesn’t like sending his players out on international break.

Each season, Man City and the other top Premier League clubs play a full, 38-game EPL slate, often go deep into two domestic cups, and play a group stage and knockout round in UEFA Champions League. In successful seasons, this can represent 50-60 matches. 

This year, the league is taking a six-week hiatus so dozens of the league’s top players can play in the most intense tournament in the world. 

Needless to say, Guardiola isn’t thrilled about this. And he’s also noted that resting players so they are ready for their national team run, is not his concern. 

This doesn’t sit well with some national team managers. 

Despite not being in the World Cup, Norway’s manager, Stale Solbakken, voiced his displeasure with how Guardiola is using their shared superstar, Erling Haaland

 “I was a bit worried when I saw the last game against Wolverhampton,” Solbakken recently said of Haaland ahead of Norway’s appearance in the UEFA Nations League, per Manchester Evening News. “When he ran around like a fool at 3-0 to make it 4-0. He yells and slaps God and every man because he doesn’t get the ball. I screamed, ‘calm down, Erling, there are more important games to come.'”

When asked if he would “lean heavily on Haaland” in Nations League despite the striker’s heavy professional workload, Solbakken said, “At least it is absolutely certain.”

That can’t be something Guardiola likes to hear, especially with so many of his key players earmarked for Qatar in November. 

Manchester City will likely send more players to the 2022 World Cup than any other Premier League club

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland celebrates scoring his side fourth goal of the game to complete his hat trick with manager Pep Guardiola.
Erling Haaland and Pep Guardiola | Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images

With the World Cup less than two months away, Premier League fans can start speculating how many players from their favorite teams will represent their countries in Qatar. Dozens of EPL stars will play in the 2022 World Cup, with the Big Six clubs sending 60 or more players just from their rosters. 

Which club will send the most to Qatar in November? Rosters aren’t due to FIFA until just before the tournament (dates below). However, inews.co.uk has compiled a list of “very likely,” and “possible” players each Premier League team could send to the World Cup. Based on that list, the Big Six teams’ current estimates look like this: 

  • Arsenal: Very likely (7), possible (3)
  • Chelsea: Very likely (13), possible (1)
  • Liverpool: Very likely (7), possible (3)
  • Manchester City: Very likely (13), possible (1)
  • Manchester United: Very likely (11), possible (5)
  • Tottenham Hotspur: Very likely (11), possible (3)

It will be a tight race between City, United, Chelsea, and Tottenham, for which club has the most players in Qatar. Surprisingly, Arsenal and Spurs β€” teams that currently sit in first and third place in the EPL table β€” lag behind by a relatively wide margin. 

When will the final 2022 World Cup rosters be announced? The 32 World Cup countries will release a final list of 35-55 players eligible for selection on Friday, October 21. After that, these national teams will submit their final 26-person rosters to FIFA by 1:00 pm ET (17:00 GMT) on Monday, November 14. FIFA will officially announce the rosters the following day, Tuesday, November 15. 

The 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar five days later, with Qatar vs. Ecuador on Sunday, November 20, at 11:00 am ET (15:00 GMT).  

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