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First team

Orjan keen to remain on an upward trajectory

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Decorated Orjan Nyland will be hoping to clear a space in his trophy cabinet come the end of the season.

The goalkeeper, who last week joined AFC Bournemouth on a one-year deal, has an impressive CV with clubs and country.

Although his game time with Aston Villa and Norwich City was limited, Nyland played a part as the clubs won promotion to the Premier League in 2019 and 2021, respectively.

He won a hat-trick of Norwegian Cups and did the double with Molde in 2014, the year boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left to join Cardiff City.

Named goalkeeper of the year in Norway in 2014 and 2015, Nyland was included in the European Under-21 Championship team of the tournament in 2013.

Capped 28 times by his country, Nyland could start for the Cherries when they face his former club Norwich in the second round of the Carabao Cup – a competition he has a runners-up medal in.

Nyland starred in Aston Villa’s run to the 2020 final, helping the Midlands club see off Liverpool and Leicester in the quarter and semi-finals before going down narrowly to Manchester City at Wembley. He was voted man of the match in the second leg of the last-four encounter with the Foxes.

He told afcb.co.uk: “For me personally, it was a really good run and a great experience. It is something I am proud of and I have fond memories of the competition.

“Liverpool at home was a funny game because they were playing in the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar so fielded a really young line-up against us.

“But you could see the identity was more or less the same as the first team and it ended up being quite an even game.

“We scored with our first three chances and I saved their first couple. We were 4-0 up at half-time and the game was more or less settled.

“The two-legged semi-final against Leicester was really good. It’s a tough place to go and we got a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

“It was a really tight second leg at Villa Park where I played one of my best games. I made three vital saves in the first half and we ended up winning 2-1, which was amazing.

“At Wembley, we played England’s best team in the final. We lost 2-1 but had a big chance to square it up from a set-piece at the end. We gave them a really tough game and were at least close to putting ourselves in a position to win it.”

Looking back on his time at Villa and Norwich, Nyland said: “It was up and down at Villa but I’m proud of my time there and I did the best I could.

“I had a nasty injury six months into my first year which wasn’t good. I came back and was competing for the number-one spot in the Premier League and helped them to a cup final.

“I had another setback with a back injury which put me out for the first six months of last season and signed for Norwich to get fit again.

“From March onwards, I was on the bench for Norwich in the promotion run. I would have wished for more games but that wasn’t up to me. I was ready in case I could get a chance and now I’m here.

“I’m really grateful having the opportunity to come here and now I’m just looking to fulfil my potential and be the best version of myself. I want to bring every attribute I have and be a major piece in this puzzle to take this club back where it belongs.”

Nyland opted to remain in England despite having offers from abroad and is determined to challenge Mark Travers for the shirt.

“I want to play every game that I can,” he said. “I just have to wait for my chance and take it when it comes.

“I bring a lot of experience. I’m an international goalkeeper and I’ve played a lot of games so that’s what I can bring.

“I’ve been part of two promotions as well so I know what it takes to go all the way. That’s what I bring to the table. I want to use that experience and give it to the lads as well. I’m ready to kick on.”

Should Nyland get the nod to start against the Canaries, it would be his first first-team run-out since he lined up for Villa against Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup last season, some 344 days ago.

Asked whether such a long gap was different for a goalkeeper compared with an outfield player, Nyland replied: “It can be. I did play games at under-23 level last season just to get that big-picture feeling again.

“You cooperate with your team-mates on a big pitch which is a little bit different from the small-sided games because you have more distance to cover and your positioning needs to be different.

“I have played hundreds of games and know what it takes. I need to get my positioning right and be ready for whatever is going to come.

“If I can do that, I know I’m up for it so it’s just about getting those little details right and being in the right place at the right time.

“Norwich will be a tough game and it’s going to be difficult to guess their team because they have come off two losses.

“They may want to play the same players just to get a good feeling but they may mix it up a little and change the system. We’ll have to see.

“It will be a good game for us to test ourselves against a really good opponent. Norwich are a Premier League club and that’s something we want to match ourselves against.”

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