After impressing while on loan at Celtic in the last two seasons, Mohamed Elyounoussi was included in Ralph Hasenhüttl’s plans at Southampton for this campaign.
The winger has four goals and two assists from seven matches with the Saints and also has three goals in the last five matches for Norway.
Two of those goals for his country came in their last match, a 2-0 win over Montenegro. After the opening goal, the 27-year-old lost balance when celebrating, and that’s when he ended up hurting his thumb.
Speaking to Norway’s TV2, the Southampton player has now confirmed he has suffered a ‘serious’ setback and will have to undergo surgery, forcing him to miss some matches.
“It happened against Montenegro after my first goal. I landed wrong. I thought at first I had just sprained my thumb, but it now turns out I’ve broken ligaments. It’s a big injury, actually,” he said.
“I felt like it wasn’t a normal thing. It hurt more and more. I talked to the physios about getting painkillers and maybe a tape. Then Ståle [Solbakken, Norway manager] said, ‘No, nothing, just keep playing! You don’t have to check it out.’
“We didn’t have time to check it properly, we just thought it was a sprain, but the next day the whole hand was swollen.
“Half my hand was blue. It had swelled properly. When I got back to England, it didn’t look like it. It was a slightly bigger injury than we thought.”
The injury, however, will not immediately force him to spend time away from the pitch. He needs to find a quick solution for it, and then surgery will fix the problem permanently.
“For now, I can [play], but over time it won’t be good. It could affect me later, too. Right now, I’m taping around it while I’m training and playing, but after getting a specialist to look at it, we really need to get something done about it as quickly as possible,” Elyounoussi added.
When describing the details, the attacker says he’ll need a “small operation”. There’s concern in his country he could be forced to miss Norway’s World Cup qualifiers against Latvia and the Netherlands next month.
On the topic of club and country, Elyounoussi admits his priority lies with Southampton.
“We just sat and talked about it today, actually. We’re trying to find a day that keeps me from missing games here, and for my part, that I don’t miss the internationals. And for them [Norway fans], of course, who have not had a championship for a long time,” he stressed.
“We’re trying to find a time that works best for everyone, but it’s clear the club has to come first. I’m going to miss games, unfortunately, and then we’ll try to figure out which matches.”