Sarina Wiegman is delighted to have the opportunity to take on Norway forward Ada Hegerberg at the Women’s Euro 2022, declaring her involvement “so good for the women’s game”.
Hegerberg had been absent from her national team since 2017 following a dispute with Norwegian football authorities over the disparity in pay between their male and female sides.
However, the maiden winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin has returned to the fold for her country in the run-up to this year’s Euros, scoring a hat-trick in her first game back during a 2023 Women’s World Cup qualifier against Kosovo in April.
Hegerberg – a six-time Women’s Champions League winner with Lyon – did not net in Norway’s opening 4-1 win over Northern Ireland but was highly influential and did provide an assist.
She appears to represent the greatest threat to Wiegman’s hosts England in their second group game on Monday, but the Lionesses manager would still rather have one of the world’s best players involved.
Asked at her pre-match press conference if she would rather Hegerberg was not playing, Wiegman responded: “Absolutely not.
“I think every player from that level, you just hope to be in the tournament because it’s so good for the women’s game.
“You want all the best players in these tournaments because that helps the game.
“It’s so nice to watch and that’s our responsibility, too, all of us, to get the best players on the pitch, so people that come to watch the games see the best players.”
— Ballon d’Or #ballondor (@francefootball) July 10, 2022
In Hegerberg’s five-year absence from the national team, Norway crashed out at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2017 against England.
Wiegman has not noted any change in Norway’s approach for Hegerberg’s return but acknowledges she makes the side much better.
“I don’t think [Norway] have changed that much,” she said. “I think [Hegerberg] is just a quality player that makes the level of the team higher.
“When you put another player in, she fills in her role a little differently than the other one who will play there, and she does a pretty good job.”