GHAYAS ZAHID helped Norway reach the play-off rounds of the UEFA European U21 Championship 2017 qualifiers with three goals in as many games.
The attacking midfielder scored the second in their 3-0 win away to Kazakhstan on Tuesday, with wonderkid Martin Ødegaard bagging a brace either side of Zahid’s strike.
Zahid was also on target in the 2-1 win over Switzerland on Friday, which helped secure Norway secure second spot in the Group 9 table behind England.
The 22-year-old has also been in decent form for club side Valerenga, who lie 11th in Norway’s Eliteserien. Their next fixture is against Stabæk on Sunday
ELSEWHERE on the international stage, Neil Taylor is ready to fight for his place in the Swansea City starting line up under new manager Bob Bradley.
The 27-year-old seemed to have been shunned by former gaffer Francesco Guidolin and has made just one appearance in the Premier League this season, the defeat to Chelsea.
Taylor started the game but was taken off after 41 minutes by Guidolin, without a real explanation why.
But with Bradley in the hotseat, Taylor is looking to show he has the right pedigree to be in the starting XI for Saturday’s visit to Arsenal.
He started in both of Wales FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers against Georgia and Austria, which both ended in draws.
MEANWHILE, Easah Suliman helped England Under 19 side beat Bulgaria 2-1 at Wycombe Wanderers’ Adams Park on Monday night.
The defender put in a solid shift as the young Lions, who had former Arsenal youth player Taff Rahman as part of the coaching team, came away with the win ahead of the European qualifiers next month.
Suliman has made a decent start to his professional career. The Aston Villa player joined League Two side Cheltenham Town and made his pro debut in the first game of the season against Leyton Orient.
He last featured in the League in the 4-2 defeat to Yeovil Town, a game in which Otis Khan scored the opener.
KHAN himself has been getting a decent run out at Yeovil, scoring twice this season, including a goal in the opening day win over Northampton Town.
OUT IN INDIA, Michael Chopra is hoping to right a few wrongs in his second stint with the Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL). By his own admission, Chops underestimated the standard of football and came up short in the first edition of the ISL in 2014.
Having sat out last year, the 32-year-old was given a second chance by the Blasters and as yet, he has not found the back of the net but has been working hard to last the course of the three-month league.
Chopra wants to show he can cut it both in the ISL and at international level and has spoken about his continued desire to represent India.
But he has more than just one stumbling block of not owning an Indian passport at present.
National team coach Stephen Constantine doesn’t fancy his chances of wearing the shirt, telling Times of India newspaper: “It’s not going to happen. He’s 32 (years old) now. Even if he decides to apply for Indian citizenship, the entire process will take at least two years. He’s already well past it.”
Chops doesn’t think much of Constantine’s comments and believes he can still make his mark on the international scene.
ALSO, promising youngster Simranjit Thandi was an unused subtitute in Leicester City’s Under-23 clash with Wolfsburg in the Premier League International Cup on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, Thandi was identified by The Guardian newspaper as one of the top 20 talents in the Premier League and represented England U17 in the Algarve Tournament in February.
ANOTHER young’un Yan Dhanda scored for Liverpool in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Bradford City.
The Under-18 starlet was given a chance to play for the first team and came on as a substitute to net in the 5-0 win over the Bantams.
AND IN CASE you’ve missed it, Wolves captain Danny Batth penned a new deal with the Championship club last month.
The 26-year-old has signed a new four-year contract with his childhood club which he joined aged 10.
“Wolves are a club I’ve been on a great journey with so far. But it’s not just about getting there, it’s about staying there,” Batth told reporters.
Wolves stand 12th in the Championship after 11 games and face Aston Villa on Saturday (15).