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Celina demanded international game-time – Norwegian FA

The Norwegian Football Federation claims Manchester City youngster Bersant Celina committed his international future to Kosovo after the Scandinavian country’s governing body refused to give assurances over first-team playing time.

Attacking midfielder Celina, who made his Premier League debut for City as a substitute during a 3-1 defeat at home to Leicester City on Saturday, was born in Kosovo before moving to Norway with his family.

He has represented Norway at Under-15, Under-16, Under-17 and Under-21 level, while also featuring in two friendly matches for Kosovo’s full national team – scoring a penalty during a 2-2 draw against Albania in November.

The 19-year-old last month pledged to represent Kosovo and, speaking to Norwegian newspaper VG, NFF spokesman Yngve Haavik said Celina and his father made demands over selection that were not viable.

Haavik said: “What we can say is that it almost became something like a negotiation regarding playing time and we can’t operate that way.

“There is no doubt that we wanted Celina to play for Norway, but that desire has to be mutual, and there can’t be any conditions on playing time.

“It is the national coach who has to decide every time who starts the game and who comes on. I think everyone realises that.”

Eduar Celina, whose son’s sole Under-21 appearance came as an 86th-minute substitute against England in September, told VG: “Bersant was willing to play and make his contribution to the Norwegian country and the national team.

“But he could not do that by sitting in the stands or by playing just three minutes. We will cheer on the national team, though, and wish them all the best.”

Thu 11 Feb, 2016
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