My dad played in the Premier League but retired when his heart stopped for seven minutes – now I'm making my own way | The Sun

MARKUS SOLBAKKEN has plenty to thank his dad for – especially after making his senior Norway debut.

The 23-year-old midfielder played in the 6-0 international friendly thumping of Jordan in September.

Solbakken started on the bench alongside unused sub Erling Haaland before his dad and national team boss Stale Solbakken brought him on in a special family moment. 

Solbakken Sr took over as Norway boss in December 2020 and has the likes of Haaland, Martin Odegaard and Erik Thorstvedt’s son Kristian at his disposal.

Though they narrowly missed out on Euro 2024 qualification, the young exciting team will be hoping to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

And this all comes after Stale was pronounced dead when his heart stopped beating for seven minutes in 2001.



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The former midfielder was playing for Copenhagen in the 2000-01 season, helping the giants win the Danish league title.

But in the March, he suffered a heart attack during training – prompting the club doctor to administer emergency first aid and telling a player to call for an ambulance.

It appeared to be too late, though, when he was declared dead – before paramedics managed to resuscitate Solbakken after nearly seven minutes in the ambulance on the way to hospital. 

The scary incident thankfully did not claim his life as he made a full recovery and had a pacemaker fitted.

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But it did bring Solbakken’s playing career to an early end after 12 years as a senior pro – including a forgettable six months in the Premier League. 

He started out with Hamarkameratene – aka HamKam – in Norway before joining Lillestrom.

But in October 1997, Solbakken left his homeland when Wimbledon paid £250,000 for him.

However, he made just six Premier League appearances and scored once before being banned from the club following a spat with manager Joe Kinnear.

And in March 1998, Solbakken was sold back to Norway, where he became Aalborg BK captain and led the team to the league title in 1998-99 before switching to rivals Copenhagen in 2000.

On the international stage, the midfielder racked up 58 caps – scoring nine – and featured for his country at both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000. 

Solbakken immediately and successfully stepped into coaching, initially with HamKam and then Copenhagen.

Two brief, failed spells at FC Koln and Wolves followed before he returned to Copenhagen, taking his title tally as a manager up to eight – plus four Danish Cups. 

And now he gets to work with his son on the international stage.

Like his old man, 2000-born Markus made his breakthrough at HamKam – coming through the academy to make more than 100 league appearances between 2016 and 2020. 

Solbakken Jr then made his top-flight debut with Stabaek but their relegation in 2021 prompted another transfer, this time to Viking where the No8 is a regular starter as the Stavanger-based side chase European qualification. 

For Norway, he was consistently part of the youth set-up from Norway Under-16s right through to U21s before impressing his father enough to get a shot in the senior team.

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