Opponent Watch: Celtic starlet set to lock horns with Rogic

Tom Rogic's superb form could hit a grinding halt in Oslo if a Celtic team-mate has his way in the international friendly between the Caltex Socceroos and Norway.

Elsewhere, Colombia are set to have some additional motivation for next week's match in London while a FIFA World Cup foe is weighing up a surprise tactical switch.

Check up with the latest on our upcoming enemies in this week's Opponent Watch.


It could be a case of better the devil you know for Tom Rogic at the Ullevaal Stadion as Celtic team-mate Kristoffer Ajer closes in on a Norway debut.

Ajer, 19, has been called into his country's senior squad for the first time after impressing in the heart of the Hoops' defence this season.

The teenager is equally comfortable as a holding midfielder, meaning his international debut could see him tasked with marking playmaker Rogic.

"He has shown that he’s a very promising player," Norway coach Lars Lagerback told The Herald of Ajer.

"We want to have him in the squad now to have a look at him.

"What he has done since he started to play regularly for Celtic before Christmas has been impressive."

Meanwhile, Lagerback's plans for the Australia friendly have been hampered by the unavailability of players at the start of the week.

Only six squad members - Martin Odegaard, Sigurd Rosted, Birger Meling, Mats Moller Daehli, Iver Fossum and Rune Almenning Jarstein - attended the team's first training session.

"The reason why there were so few players is that we decided that training should be completely voluntary," Lagerback said in quotes reported by Dagbladet.

"If I remember correctly there were nine players playing on Sunday. Usually you rehabilitate the next day.

"Most players chose to rehabilitate. They had to choose for themselves because it was artificial turf."

Lars Lagerback
Norway coach Lars Lagerback.


The Caltex Socceroos could have an easy time in their clash with Colombia next week, or at least that's according to Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti.

France international Umtiti is set to square off against club team-mate Yerry Mina when their two nations meet in Paris on Saturday morning (AEDT).

That encounter precedes Australia's date with Colombia and Umtiti, a player Bert van Marwijk's men are set to face in Russia, already has the banter underway.

"This is a battle," Mina said of the so-called friendly. "[Umtiti] told me that it was impossible for the Colombian national team to win in Europe!"


Speaking of FIFA World Cup opponents, the news out of Denmark is that coach Age Hareide is weighing up an interesting tactical switch.

The 64-year-old is eager to find a spot in his starting XI for Chelsea talent Andreas Christensen, but is reluctant to tinker with his preferred central-defensive partnership of Simon Kjaer and Andras Bjelland.

That means Christensen is set to be deployed in midfield in the friendly matches against Panama and Chile.

"We will definitely try him off at the defensive midfield in the two games we have now because we need to have more options than William Kvist," Hareide told Danish outlet DR.

"In my first international matches against Iceland and Scotland, he played in the centre of defence in a 3-5-2 formation, where he was allowed to search the space between the midfield and the defence."

How Christensen adapts may depend on whether his recent discussion with John Terry was a success.

The 21-year-old revealed he has been in touch with the former Blues skipper for advice on how to break out of a troublesome form slump.