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Oyvind's Nordic delight

Posted on 31 August 2000  - 12:00

English Barclays Premiership

Oyvind Leonhardsen can bury his summer heartbreak on Saturday. Our popular midfielder is back in the Norwegian squad for the first World Cup qualifying match against Armenia in Olso after injury ruled him out of the European Championships.

He was naturally devastated to miss out on the year's major event but the enforced break now looks worth it - he has overcome his heel problem, played in all three of our Premiership matches so far and has now been recalled by national boss Nils Johan Semb.

Capped 66 times already by his country, a delighted 'Leo' enthused: "It's great to be back in the squad and great to be injury-free. My heel is much better and I would like to think it will now be fine. I'm looking forward to meeting up with the squad again.

"It is a game we should win. It is the start of qualifying and very important to get a win in the first game. It's the World Cup in two years' time, we have played in the last two and hopefully we can make it three times in a row."

Leonhardsen has been in fine form for us and capped his return to fitness with a goal at Middlesbrough last week. However, he shared the disappointment of his team-mates and manager after Saturday's defeat at Newcastle and knows we have to put it right with successive home games to follow against Everton and West Ham.

He added: "I thought we looked solid in the first two games but it was disappointing in the last game because I didn't think Newcastle looked a great team. We gave them the first goal and it was difficult from there. We were very disappointed but now we have two home games and it's important to bounce back - especially to win the first one against Everton."