Player development in Scandinavia has been improving over time. Just eight years ago, the future of Norwegian football was Mats Møller Dæhli, who now plays in the Bundesliga 2. Sweden looked to Muamer Tanković, who currently plays in Cyprus. Finland was optimistic about Joel Pohjanpalo, who has fallen to Italy’s second tier. Only Denmark had much success, with 21-year-old Christian Eriksen as well as multiple future Premier League stars.
Now, times have changed, and these countries have some of the most sought-after stars on the globe. Jesper Lindstrøm, Erling Håland, Martin Ødegaard, Anthony Elanga, Dejan Kulusevski, Alexander Isak, and more have starred for club and country. The Scandanavians also have some lesser-known prospects, too. Recently, I’ve highlighted Denmark’s Valdemar Andreasen, Sweden’s Williot Swedberg, and Finland’s Agon Sadiku — although Sadiku has since switched to Kosovo and debuted internationally.
Norway has been different from all those nations. Because of the recent explosion in player growth, Norway often sees its top prospects move abroad at young ages. Indeed, Håland left at the age of 18, while Ødegaard left Norway’s top flight at the age of 16.
Because of this, it’s easy to overlook some top talents in the Norwegian Eliteserien, including one featuring for Odds BK: Filip Rønningen Jørgensen.
CM Filip Rønningen Jørgensen, 20, Odds BK
Jørgensen was born in Kragerø, Norway — a town with a population of 10,000 people. He played at youth level for Kragerø IF and played several matches at professional level in Norway’s lower leagues before joining BK Odds in 2017.
Side note: how good is that scouting? An upper-half top-flight team signing a prospect from a team currently in Norway’s 6th tier — that’s the equivalent of Manchester United signing a player from Kidderminster Harriers.
Anyway, Jørgensen immediately made an impact at the club. He quickly went from the Odds third team to the second team, where he was continuously impressive. A few months later, he made his first-team debut at the age of 18, quickly becoming a regular.
In his first two seasons with the club, Jørgensen made 51 Eliteserien appearances. During that span, he featured mainly as a defensive midfielder — a combined 48 interceptions, 62 clearances, and 60 tackles — while his passing game proved to be a strength, with over 2,000 completed passes. Offense was not one of Jørgensen’s strengths, with just two goals and two assists during that two-year span.
Last season (which ended barely a month ago), Jørgensen took his game to a whole other level. He maintained his strong defensive output, with 20 interceptions, 30 clearances, and 22 tackles won. The main difference, though, was his offense: he created more chances (36), assisted more goals (four), and scored more goals (3) than he had in his first two years combined.
Jørgensen has impressive stamina, playing 80 minutes or more in all but six games this season. Physically, he’s lanky yet strong, able to hold off opponents while dribbling and also win the ball back. His positioning is fantastic, helping him intercept passes while getting himself into positions to receive the ball. His biggest strength, though, is passing: his vision helps him find the right man, and his excellent passing does the rest.
With the Eliteserien season not set to kick off until April, it would not be surprising to see Jörgensen depart in the winter transfer window. Realistically, a move to a lower-table Serie A or Bundesliga club would not be unrealistic, but he’s more likely to go to a smaller league to start. Austria or Denmark would be a good move.
Already a youth international with Norway, Jørgensen clearly has a bright future ahead of him. With a talented supporting cast, things are all coming together at the right time for Jørgensen and the Nordic nation.
Image courtesy of Chattus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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