It’s fair to say that Mohamed Elyounoussi’s Norway career has stalled in 2019.
His last appearance for his country came back in March in a 3-3 home draw against Sweden. In fact, Elyounoussi has only played a total of 106 minutes in Norway’s Euro 2020 qualification campaign (Transfermarkt).
The Southampton-owned left-winger struggled to make an impact for the Premier League side last season. And it’s probably fair to say he only became a big-game player for Celtic after his Cluj performance at Celtic Park back in early October.
As it stands, Elyounoussi hasn’t played a single one of Norway’s last six matches. Back in September, he failed to even make the squad.
But now he’s in a better place. Mo has fired home seven goals in 12 games for Celtic to become the first-choice left-winger at the club.
He’s also producing in big games against the likes of Rennes, Cluj, and Lazio, as well as key domestic matches such as Aberdeen away and the Betfred Cup semi-final against Hibernian.
Elyounoussi looks ready for international return
Elyounoussi himself has already claimed that he’s enjoying his football again (The Scotsman). That’s clearly gone a long way to helping him rediscover the talent we all knew he had in him.
And now he’s surely earned his chance to impress for his national team in their final two Euro qualifying games against Faroe Islands and Malta respectively.
In Norway’s last three games, Ole Selnaes has been playing in Mo’s left-mid position. Yet his natural slot is as a central midfielder. He also plays for Chinese club Shenzhen, so it’s fair to say that Elyounoussi has been operating at a higher level.
There’s nobody in the Norway squad that can lay a serious claim to the left-wing spot outside of Elyounoussi this time. And with Norway seriously up against it to get into the top two in their group, the matches against the Faroes and Malta should present Lars Lagerback with a chance to see if Mo is ready ahead of the Nations League playoffs next year.
All signs point to him getting his chance. He’s been called up to the squad and his form deserves it (Norway FA Twitter). Hopefully, we’re all raving about his international performances a week down the line.