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Havard Tvedten: "Sagosen will become a superstar"

FEATURE: Norway's recently retired left wing Havard Tvedten has come to the EHF EURO 2016 as a commentator and has a special eye on centre back Sander Sagosen

Photo: Havard Tvedten Instagram

After having played more than 200 internationals in which he scored more than 800 goals, Havard Tvedten, the long-term stalwart of the Norwegian national team, decided to take a different approach to the EHF EURO 2016.

He still remains close to the team but is now following them from the commentary positions as he works as an expert for TV station NRK Sport.

"I felt it was time to give space to the younger players and focus just on my club duties in Aalborg," the 37-year-old explains.

What he has seen so far from Norway in Katowice and Krakow is arguably to Tvedten's delight, as Norway are well on their way to better the sixth place they reached at the EHF EURO 2008, their best achievement to date.

Two years ago at the EHF EURO 2014, Norway lost all three preliminary round matches and the tournament was over for them.

"The biggest difference now is that we have a lot of players participating in the game. We use many of the players from the bench and change the whole line-up.

"They have different skills, some of them are tall, some small, some are fast runners, some great shooters. We have many things we can implement,” says Tvedten about the current Norwegian national team.

"Compared to the EURO two years ago, when we also had a good team, we have a new coach and a new system, and of course the players are getting older and more experienced. And at this tournament they play excellent."

Time for payback

After Norway had lost their EHF EURO opener to Iceland 25:26, they won the three next games including the 30:28 victory against Poland in the main round on Saturday.

It was a kind of payback as Norway conceded bitter defeats in the last two games between the two teams.

"Not only in 2008 at our home EHF EURO we lost points against Poland in important matches. Also in 2009 at the World Championship we were close to a similar success like this time around.

"In a game against Poland we had to win to reach the semi-final. It was a draw in the last minute and we had the ball, but we failed to score and conceded a goal.

"The small details and things that went Poland's way last time have changed a little bit," says Sagosen.

Sagosen - teammate, family member and babysitter

The young Norwegian centre back Sander Sagosen is under Tvedten's special focus. Not only because he is regarded as one of the rising stars of European handball; the two Norwegians, who both play for Danish side Aalborg, share more than the love for the sport.

"When he came over to Denmark to play for Aalborg, he was just 18, and it was natural for my family to help him a bit.

"He is a nice guy and he knows that he is welcome in our family anytime he wants to come. He has spent a lot of time with us, and our kids love him. He even babysits for us,“ says Tvedten.

"He has now a different role than planned at the beginning of the championship. He was starting as one of the team's main shooters, but now his position has shifted more to playmaking. He is a fantastic player and prone to become a superstar in two or three years.

"He has all the skills it takes and on top of it he is a very good guy."

written by Vlado Brindzak / ts