After struggling with injury early on, Norwegian midfielder Ingvild Isaksen has made her debut with Juventus women as Rita Guarino's side has enjoyed a perfect start to their inaugural campaign winning six out of six in Serie A and advancing in the Coppa Italia. She talked to Juventus TV about her start to life with the Bianconeri:
What does it mean to wear the colors of Juventus?
ISAKSEN: It’s very exciting being a part of such a big club with so much history so it feels very special every time I get to wear the black and white jersey.
You are a talented and experienced player, can you describe your style as a player?
ISAKSEN: First of all I’m a physical strong player that is good in defense. Offensively, I see myself as a playmaker. I think I have a good eye for the game and like to set up my teammates in good positions.
Was it by chance or why did you choose the number 19?
ISAKSEN: I’ve been number 19 my whole senior career and I also play with 19 on my national team. I’ll always choose this number when I have the chance.
How would you describe your relationship with your teammates?
ISAKSEN: I think I have a good relationship with my teammates. In the beginning I was training a lot by myself during my rehab but now that I have been training with the team I get to know the girls so much better and it’s a really good group of girls.
How would you describe your relationship with your coach Rita Guarino?
ISAKSEN: I think I have a really good relationship with Rita. I’m also getting to know her better and getting a clearer image of what she wants. It’s challenging in the beginning because you don’t know the language and are not so used to the type of play so it’s a lot to get into but I’m getting more into it every day.
What does Rita Guarino ask of you on the field?
ISAKSEN: I think she wants tme to bring my experience on the field and set a standard on our performances. Ive been on this game for some years now and would really like to contribute what I know.
What would you say the difference is between training and playing with Juventus and previous teams?
ISAKSEN: I think I find differences with different coaches and how they want to train and play. The biggest difference might be Italian focus and Italian mentality, it’s quite different from Norway. There we have a very tough mentality and physical way of playing. What I really like here is you want to play fast and with few touches which is a good challenge for me because it’s an aspect of my game I really want to improve in. I like that a lot but I also want to keep my Norwegian mentality and working mentality as I keep developing other aspects.
You made your debut for Juventus against Verona what was that like?
ISAKSEN: It always feels good making a comeback after injury. I’m here to play football so to finally put on the jersey, put on the boots and play for Juventus was so great. My rehab has been long and I’ve struggled a bit with injuries the last three years so I really know what it’s like to comeback. I’ve taken that feeling with me in training every day keeping me motivated to work hard and finally against Verona I got the chance to play.
The team is doing very well in the league with six wins out of six. What do you make of the Italian championship?
ISAKSEN: We’re really happy to have won all six games. The championship is a little bit uneven...we have been a little bit uneven ourselves. We have some periods where we are really good and some periods where our focus is lacking a bit so we really need to be consistent on a higher level especially facing the games coming up because they’re going to be tough games.
You are one of the team maestros who conduct the tempo on the pitch in the last win. How does it feel to play with the support of the fans at home?
ISAKSEN: It’s really nice playing at home. We don’t have the biggest arena but it’s always full and I really appreciate the people taking the time to come and watch us play. I really love the new supporters club who make noise cheering for us with flags and banners. It really helps us perform a little bit better. We do it for ourselves and we do it for them.
What trick do you dream of doing on the pitch?
ISAKSEN: I don’t do so many tricks. I like to play simple and easy. Maybe I could make a really nice goal this year that would be nice.
The next match against Brescia. What do you think about that challenge?
ISAKSEN: I’m really looking forward to playing against Brescia. They have the same amount of points as us so it’s our first great test and we’ll see how far we’ve come the last couple months. I think it’s going to be tough and we need to be at our best to beat Brescia and I really want to come home with three points from that game.
What are your personal goals?
ISAKSEN: I really want to be a big contributor to the team and use my experience to make the team better. Due to injuries, I’ve never played in a World Cup so with the national team I really hope we qualify in 2019 and that’s a big goal for me. I want to be a big contributor and experience great things with my team hoping to see us improve every day.
What are your personal goals for Juventus?
ISAKSEN: I really want for us to win the league and take a place in the Champions Eague next year. We see that we have a really good chance to do it and have a really good squad. But we are a new team with a new coach in a new club so we have a really good group of girls but it takes time to bulid a team. We need to work hard to get better every day and I think we have a really good chance to achieve our goals.