BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
BJORN JOHNSEN has revealed he gave his own dad a dressing down for being a Twit on social media.
Hasse Johnsen made the trip to Scotland to watch his son torment Motherwell with a double at Tynecastle last month before turning in a man-of-the-match display in the subsequent 2-0 win over Rangers.
Swept up by the displays of Johnsen Jr, Hasse decided to take a pop at the Norwegian FA as they continue to overlook the Hearts hit-man, who is also eligible to represent the U.S..
He tweeted: “I almost want USMNT [U.S. men’s national team] to call him up so that we can confirm that the Norwegian team coaches are totally clueless.”
Those virtuoso displays were key in Johnsen landing November’s Premiership player of the month yesterday as he settles into life in Scotland – however, the rangy striker is more patient about his international prospect than his father is.
Johnsen laughed: “That’s my dad! He is definitely emotional.
“He was here for the Motherwell game and he was here for the first Rangers game, so it was emotional for me and him. He really likes it here, he likes Edinburgh – and he was just happy that I’m in a good situation.
“I gave him a talking-to afterwards. I said ‘everyone’s watching you’. He has no idea about that sort of thing, he’s new to it as well. Everyone’s watching what you say and do. That’s not a bad thing – publicity is always a good thing. At least he’s on my side!
“He coached me when I was little and my two younger brothers, and he has his ‘B’ licence. He definitely knows about football, but his emotions get in the way. That’s what happens.
“I am focused on doing my job, I would love to hear from America or Norway, I’m half and half – I have two passports – but I’m not really worried about [international recognition].
“I am concerned with me playing the way I know I can play and showing everybody who I am. If they think I am good enough to play for their country then I will take that as a compliment.”
Both Norway and the U.S. have axed their managers in the last month, with Per-Mathias Hogma removed from the now-vacant Norway job and Bruce Arena replacing Jurgen Klinsmann in charge of the U.S..
While that could herald a fresh opportunity for Johnsen, his priority is to impress another new boss – Hearts head coach Ian Cathro.
Both men enjoy a shared path back to Hearts, having worked in Portugal at the same time; Cathro as assistant to Nuno Espirito Santo at Rio Ave and Johnsen enjoying a prolific stint with Louletano.
Indeed, Johnsen’s last player of the month triumph came while playing in Portugal. And he reckons there could soon be an Iberian influence at Tynecastle.
He continued: “I know of Nuno [Espirito Santo] very well but I didn’t initially know Ian. I had no idea that he had actually worked under Nuno.
“Nuno is at Porto now and is renowned as a great coach. Ian will have learned a lot from him. You can see that on the training pitch. The things he wants to do, in terms of possession, are from countries like Portugal, so I feel comfortable.
“It might be new for some of the Scottish players to get used to but, it’s football. We have all played possession games at time and, if there are different tactics, we will get used to it really quickly.”
And he is adamant that pedigree will ensure he get silence the snipers who have questioned his lack of playing experience.
The former Rio Ave, Valencia and Newcastle No.2 suffered a 2-0 defeat against Rangers on Saturday to kick off his management career – but Johnsen still expects big things.
He continued: “He has worked with Nuno, at Valencia as well, these are huge clubs and clubs we would all want to play for! So we need to learn from him, whether he has played football or not.
“He must be doing something right and now he is in this position so we have to learn and support him.
“He maybe sees it from a different aspect. I don’t see football from the perspective of being in the stand, he does, and he might see stuff that I might not see – and vice versa – so we are going to have to help him and he is going to have to help us.”
Meanwhile, Johnsen sees Hearts as the perfect stepping stone to the big time after welcoming the attention of visiting scouts.
Johnsen was named as one of FOUR Jambos who caught the eye of watching Derby County boss Steven McClaren during their recent 2-0 win over Rangers at Tynecastle.
While contracted to the Gorgie outfit until the summer of 2019, he has made no secret of his aspiration to move on to bigger and better things.
He said: “Honestly, that’s what I want. You always want recognition and want big clubs to come and pick you up.
“Right now, I am focused on Hearts and I can’t tell you what will happen in the future. But I am really pleased that clubs down south are looking at me. As a player, that is what my aspiration is, to play there [in England] or in another big league.
“The Scottish league right now is on a high and people are watching us so that is a good thing for everyone. Not just for me but all the other players.
“[John] Souttar is being watched as well and Calum [Paterson] is always being scouted! so when Calum is always being watched, we are all being watched – that is good for us.”