Solskjaer education and goalkeeping genetics pave way for City target Nyland
- Credit: PA
Orjan Nyland's career has been steeped in accolades and success, now a sudden end at Aston Villa and a back injury has plunged his future into doubt.
The 30-year-old was a consistent member of Dean Smith's side in the Premier League after Project Restart last year, most notably carrying the ball over the line as Hawkeye seemed to miss a certain goal for Sheffield United.
Emiliano Martinez' arrival from Arsenal saw Nyland slip down the pecking order at Villa Park before both parties agreed on a mutual termination of his contract which was due to expire in this summer.
Now the 30-year-old is a target for Norwich City as a short-term goalkeeping option after a major hamstring injury to Michael McGovern.
Nyland utilised the time to get a back operation, and explained to Norwegian media the full extent of his issue.
"When we chose to go our separate ways, I had a back injury that I had struggled with for a long time, but I did not know it was as serious as it was. Two or three weeks after we parted ways, it got really crazy, and after that it was just surgery to try to get rid of both pain and back pain.
"It was very serious because there was pain down in the foot as well. It originated from the back. Then it is said that you should preferably do something about it. It doesn't just help to rest. So then it was really just to take those signals and get something done with it, and we did."
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A slipped disc had trapped a nerve in his back, Nyland has been working with a physio to complete his recovery. The Canaries have held talks with the former Villa keeper, but there are concerns over his current level of fitness.
Nyland is based in the Midlands and would prefer a move in England. He did reveal he would be happy to be a short-term second choice as he rebuilds his fitness before reassessing his career prospects in the summer.
"This is where we have a base and where my wife and children are well established. The older the children get, the more difficult it is to move and destroy their network. I have in a way done it once so far. Now we live in such a central place in England that it would have been the best, but it is a market you also have to get into. You almost just have to see," he told Norweigan outlet TV2.
"For me, it's only in the first phase, until the summer, about getting into a team and training myself again and getting in shape. If I can play games that way too, that's great. Then we take an evaluation for the summer around where you can possibly write a longer contract and get to play for several years and be the first goalkeeper."
Nyland's footballing education came predominantly within his native country.
The goalkeeper made his name with second-division side Hodd, before joining current Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Molde. Nyland had great success, winning the league and two cups in a two-year spell at the club.
His goalkeeping pedigree was spotted at a young age when he was a keen handball player. Nyland also competed in alpine skiing before focusing solely on football. His father, Jostein, was also a goalkeeper.
Nyland's career began at Volda, before he progressed and became recognised as one of the best goalkeepers in the country. That sparkling club form led to international recognition and he was an important part of the squad as Norway reached the semi-finals of the European Under 21 Championships in 2013.
Some took the praise even further by including him in one newspaper’s team of the tournament - ahead of the likes of David de Gea.
His positive performances gained him a full Norway cap, coming against Scotland in November 2014. He has gone to make 28 appearances for his country.
A move to German second division side Ingolstadt followed before he was signed by Steve Bruce for Aston Villa in 2018. Nyland joined the club as the first-choice goalkeeper in the Championship and played the opening 23 games of the season before rupturing his Achilles tendon and missing the remainder of the season, including their successful play-off campaign.
Nyland was largely second-choice for Villa in the Premier League, but did make seven appearances. He was also involved in their EFL Cup run which saw them defeated 2-1 in the final by Manchester City, a game Nyland played.
A mix of a lack of confidence, injury and other options saw his time at Villa never really get going. Now, he is looking to get back to full fitness and revive his career. Norwich may just provide him with that opportunity.