Golden Generation | We Go Again

The extreme high of last season’s unbeaten domestic season was always going to be difficult to top, especially with such a young squad.

I didn’t think a sixth consecutive Eliteserien title was in doubt at any stage of the season, but there was a late wobble in performances and results that concerned me.

Here’s the summary of my sixth season in charge of Vålerenga.

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The Golden Generation | Invincibles

Change is constant at the Intility Arena. Talented players join Vålerenga, they train in the best facilities in the country, are coached by the best coaches, get meaningful minutes on the pitch, show off their talent, and leave for bigger clubs.

Over the past season, nine first team squad players have left the club for a grand total of just over £70m. Of the nine, six were regular starters in the first team. Of the nine, six had been at the club since I joined or were club youth products. Change is good though. Change can bring different results, better ones.

The title of the post maybe gives the game away, but here’s how the 2024 season went.

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The Golden Generation | Chop and Change

Don’t worry, the title of today’s post doesn’t mean I’m abandoning Vålerenga. It refers to my fourth season in charge at the club being one where things were chopped up and changed. It was time to move some players on to make way for the next raft of talent to take their place.

Would this unsettle us on our way to try and clinch a fourth consecutive Eliteserien title? Let’s see what happened.

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My 3-3-2-1-1 FM21 Tactic

I recently read Wings of Change, a book from Karan Tejwani in which he goes in-depth on how Red Bull has infiltrated the footballing world. Julian Nagelsmann previously transformed Hoffenheim from 17th place in the Bundesliga when he took over to them becoming “one of Germany’s most exciting teams”, according to the book. His work there attracted the attention of Red Bull and he eventually joined Leipzig.

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My Approach to Recruitment on FM21

I’m putting a huge focus behind developing young players on FM21.

I’ve spoken before about improving the abilities of young players, playing them in my first team and selling them on. While that could be taken as me doing a solely homegrown save, where I’m only allowed to play my own youth products without signing any new players, I’ve never once said that. It probably is the overall aim for the save, one day it might well be the case.

One thing I did say in my introductory blog post was that I was looking to make Oslo, and Vålerenga, the destination for promising young players to come and hone their skills. This means I’ve been recruiting and developing some of Norway’s most promising talent. We’ve been acting like the big team that we should have been, and now are. Here’s the approach I’ve taken to doing that.

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The Golden Generation | Keeping the Title

Vålerenga are Eliteserien champions again.

It’s only the second time in their history that they’ve retained the Norwegian league title. A brilliant achievement for Kristoffer Samstrøm (me).

Last season’s title win might have come as a surprise to me, but I knew if we played as well this time round as we did last time we’d have a big chance again.

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The Golden Generation | Norwegian National Team Squad Depth | Midfielders and Forwards

Last time you heard from me, I told you I decided to take a look at the squad depth of the Norwegian National Team to help me pick a 23-man squad for Euro2020.

That post looked at the goalkeepers and defenders, this one will look at the midfield and forward options at my disposal.

10 spots were already filled in the squad, meaning there was 13 to go from the following positions.

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