Rumori di Spogliatoio

Pehrsson: Ojamaa can play up front

Angelo PalmeriComment
'I want to play upfront' (ETV outtake)

'I want to play upfront' (ETV outtake)

In 16 caps, Henrik Ojamaa has not yet scored a goal for the ‘Sinisärgid’ (or ‘Siilid’, the hedgehogs, according to the new Estonian FA symbolism ) however he might have a good chance on Wednesday the 5th of March when Estonia will take on Gibraltar at the Victoria Stadium in the tiny Iberian country.

Playing Gibraltar, a new member of the UEFA family, it will not automatically mean a large win for Estonia and a netting for the 22-year-old striker at Legia Warsaw.

Allen Bula’s XI has held Slovakia 0-0 last year, accounting for a clean sheet since they have started to compete on the official level.

However, the Swedish coach at his debut at the helm of the Estonian national team, hinted at the fact that Ojamaa could start as the lonely striker up front in a style of game that, he admitted, might not be so different compared to the past.

Additionally, the forward line is in emergency.

Sergei Zenjov has pulled out due to a back injury (three weeks out) and Henri Anier cannot join the national team.

The 23-year-old striker at Motherwell, played only 17 minutes two days ago (full report by Chris John here).

Pehrsson talked to him yesterday and Henri is struggling with an inflammation in the side of his shin. Consequently, they agreed that he will not travel to Gibraltar. The fact that the game will be played on artificial turf at the Victoria stadium, was one of the factors that convinced Anier to pull out of the game in order to avoid his injury getting worse. Anier will be also out of the game at the club this weekend (Motherwell vs. Hearts of Midlothian).

Suddenly, a lot of space and chances to play up front open up for Henrik Ojamaa.

Magnus Pehrsson is reflecting upon Ojamaa's position (gp.se)

Magnus Pehrsson is reflecting upon Ojamaa's position (gp.se)


In his previous experiences at Djurgarden IF and at Aalborg BK, Pehrsson used mostly the 4-4-2 and the 4-5-1 formations.

RdS asked whether he is going to play Ojamaa as a lonely striker in a 4-5-1: ‘yes, I have been thinking about that’ admitted the 37-year-old coach from Lidingö, a small town in the Stockholm area ‘I see he can play as a striker and with his qualities he can do that in a good way. However, he can also do well as a winger because this is what he is been doing for many years’ concluded Pehrsson.

The newly appointed national team coach skilfully dribbled our remark that, Ojamaa, actually, does not like very much to play in that position: ‘I will talk to Henrik instead of hearing what he is saying in his club’ cut short in order not to feed any controversy over Ojamaa’s position on the pitch.

In Poland the topic has been discussed quite widely instead.

The new coach at Legia, Norwegian Henning Berg, has tried Henrik in an up-front position, praising his speed and strength. He added that there is still ‘something to work on, such as the mobility on the field’ declared to Legia.com website.

The same website opened a ‘debate’ about Henrik position: Will Henrik Ojamaa now be fielded in the attack? questioned the club’s website inviting fans and readers to express their opinion about moving the Estonian player from the wing to the centre of the attack.

On the topic, even Ojamaa’s agent, Jonne Lindblom from Golden Star Management, has expressed his opinion via Twitter some weeks ago: ‘A lot of talk in Poland about Ojamaa's position. It seems new Legia manager Henning Berg is keen on moving him back to his natural position hinting at the flanker position as a kind of distortion of Henrik’s qualities and skills.

Will Pehrsson comply with Ojamaa’s wish to be moved in the middle of the action?

The national team coach did not want to share his ideas on how they are going to play and who is going to be fielded where during the press conference held today at LHV Bank headquarters, one of the main sponsor of the Estonian FA.

First I want to talk to the players, I will not tell exactly what system of play I am going to use

Until Wednesday, when the official line-ups will be communicated to the match officials in Gibraltar, we can continue speculate whether he will bring Ojamaa up front or keeping using him as a flanker.