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21.02.2015, 09:00
Sander Sagosen: "I want to be the best in the world"
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RISING STARS OF 2015: Despite being only 19 years young, Norwegian playmaker Sander Sagosen is already reaching for the stars of international handball
 

Sander Sagosen: "I want to be the best in the world"

First it was Norway’s former national coach Robert Hedin who said it. Then others followed, saying the exact same thing.

What they said was simple; just a few – albeit very powerful – words about a player: "Sander Sagosen has the potential to become the best handball player in the world."

Of course, the 19-year-old playmaker from Danish top team Aalborg Handball knows about this.

He does not hide his own ambitions, but still he takes things people say about him quite relaxed.

"I do not think that much about what people say about me. I simply focus on developing my game and become a better handball player all the time," says Sagosen who has played 18 internationals and scored 31 goals for Norway so far.

"However, I do have an ambition to become the best in the world. Of course, I do. That is what I train and play for. That is a natural ambition to have, I think, and I hope to achieve that goal one day."

2014/15 is his first season outside his native country, as he joined Aalborg, arriving from Norwegian side Haslum, in summer last year.

"Of course, I have had to get used to living in another country, even though it is a neighbouring one, and to the way things are done here.

"Everything is much different, compared to what I was used to. We train a lot more and play a lot more matches, than I was used to in Norway – in the (VELUX EHF) Champions League as well as in the Danish league, and the level is higher here," he explains.

"However, it has been a great change for me. Everything is much more professional than I was used to, and playing in front of such a fantastic home crowd, as we have here in Aalborg, has also been a great new experience for me.

"Of course, I have also developed a lot as a handball player through the increased amount of training and the many matches we play here.

"In particular, I feel that I have become physically stronger, that I have become bigger and stronger," he finds.

More court time

Aalborg have been hit pretty hard by injuries this season, in particular among the team’s back court players, and this has meant even more time on the court for Sagosen than he expected.

He adapted to this pretty and did not succumb to the pressure. Despite his young age, he already acts as the playmaker with the experience one what usually expect from a more mature player.

Due to his height, Sagosen stands at 1,92 metres, he is also a threat to the opponents’ defence as a shooter and during his time in Aalborg he has already added new variations to his shooting repertoire.

"It has been great to play as much as I have, and this has obviously contributed to develop even further," he says.

In the current season of the VELUX EHF Champions League he has been scoring 35 goals, making him his team's second best scorer behind fellow Norwegian Harvard Tvedten who scored 36 times.

Aalborg are currently ranked 5th in Group D. They face MOL-Pick Szeged on Sunday (19:00 hrs, live on ehfTV) in a match which will decide whether they qualify for the Last 16 or not.

The FINAL4 in sight

When you want to be best in the world, you have to aim high from the start, and that is what Sagosen does. His idol is Nikola Karabatic.

"He (Karabatic) is simply a complete handball player, and he masters all aspects of the game at a very high level.

"He combines an enormous physical strength with handball at an extremely high level. He plays handball with a power I would like to possess. Furthermore he is a good central defender," says Sagosen.

It was considered a scoop for Aalborg when the runners-up in the Danish championship signed Sander Sagosen.

Many clubs around Europe were already keen on signing Norway´s greatest handball talent, but Aalborg won the race.

However, the current number two in the Danish league will have to pull some strings to be able to hold their ‘golden boy’ for long as Sagosen is open about what he wants.

"My ambition is to play for a European top club, a team that can qualify for the (VELUX EHF) FINAL4 in the Champions League.

"It does not matter all that much to me at the moment, if it is going to be one of the top clubs in the German Bundesliga, a top club in France or for instance Barcelona. I will take a look at the opportunities when the chance arises."


The rising handball stars of 2015

Part 1: Niko Mindegia (ESP) / Pick Szeged: "I dream of playing at the next EHF EURO"

Part 2: Kentin Mahé (FRA) / HSV Hamburg: Walking proudly in his father's steps


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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