Women's Football

Ada Hegerberg returns to Norway squad for first time since 2017

Jamie Spencer
Ada Hegerberg is set to feature in a Norway squad for the first time since 2017
Ada Hegerberg is set to feature in a Norway squad for the first time since 2017 / JEFF PACHOUD/GettyImages

Ada Hegerberg is returning to international football for the first time in nearly five years, having been named in Norway's squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers in April.

Hegerberg, who became the first winner of the Women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, revealed in September 2017 her intention to take an indefinite break from international action.

The Lyon striker and five-time Champions League winner cited the way she felt the women’s national team was treated by the Norwegian Football Federation (NFF) in her reasoning and later described her time in the setup as ‘deeply depressing’.

The NFF signed an historic equal-pay agreement for its men’s and women’s senior national teams towards the end of 2017, but Hegerberg stuck to her principles and in 2019 remarked that there was still a ‘long way to go’ in the ongoing fight for equality.

“Even though there are changes, you need to push for those changes every day, never stop demanding for equality and development,” she said at the time. “That's why our position is important. Every player needs to use their voice to shake up things.”

But almost three years further on, rumours of Hegerberg’s return to the Norway fold had been building in recent months.

Norwegian broadcaster TV2 first reported that the 26-year-old would be included in a squad for April’s games, which was confirmed to be the case when the list dropped on Thursday morning.

The news comes just a few months before an already-talented Norway side are due to compete at Euro 2022, with the potential return of their superstar striker a huge boost. Hegerberg has previously played at Euro 2013, Euro 2017 and the World Cup in 2015.

This season, Hegerberg has recovered from the long-term knee injury that had ruled her out for close to two years and has started to find the net once more for Lyon in recent months.

Speaking to 90min in October, she expressed confidence that she will get back to her best form.

“I am convinced that I will get there with the work that I’m putting down at the moment, but it just takes time,” the prolific goalscorer said.

“That’s how it is and I’m accepting that as well, but I’m just trying to enjoy myself. Putting down all this hard work, if you don’t enjoy yourself with the progress and development, it would be much, much harder. Being back playing football again is just a joy to me.”

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!