Support for the England national team ahead of a friendly encounter with Norway at Wembley may be at an all-time low, but those of the Three Lions persuasion should spare a thought for fans of the Scandinavian nation.
Norway have not qualified for a major tournament since Euro 2000, where they exited at the group stage, and do not look likely to anytime soon after winning just one of their last 11 international fixtures going into this game.
There was a time when Norwegians dominated English football, however, with the likes of Eirik Bakke, Oyvind Leonhardsen and Jan Age Fjortoft all making their names with spells in the Premier League.
With a nod to the aforementioned names and other familiar stars like Alf-Inge Haaland and Morten Gamst Pedersen, we give you the HereistheCity top five Norwegian Premier League stars of yesteryear.
John Carew – Aston Villa & Stoke City - 2006-2011
Something of a European journey man having spent time in Spain, Italy, Turkey and France, Carew’s longest stint at any club came with Villa, where he racked up 37 goals in 113 Premier League games as part of Martin O’Neill’s swashbuckling side.
A target man by trade, Carew’s aerial ability helped him lay on goals aplenty for his Villa teammates during his four-year stay at the club. He moved to Stoke on loan after falling out of favour in 2011, netting once in the top-flight for Stoke before heading down to the Championship with West Ham.
Tore Andre Flo – Chelsea & Sunderland - 1997-2001 & 2002-2003
In the days before Roman Abramovich and his billions arrived at Stamford Bridge, Flo was something of a Chelsea superstar after arriving at the club from Brann in 1997 for just £300,000. A total of 50 goals in three-and-a-half seasons followed for the club before moving to Glasgow Rangers for £10m.
During his time in London, Flo helped Chelsea to glory in the FA Cup, League Cup and Cup Winners Cup. He returned to the Premier League with Sunderland for £6.75m two years later, but failed to keep the Black Cats in the top-flight with the target man scoring just four league goals.
Henning Berg – Blackburn Rovers & Manchester United - 1992-2003
While his abilities as a manager are questionable, Berg is best remembered as a reliable, title-winning defender during spells with Blackburn and Manchester United. Spotted playing for Norway in a friendly against England in 1993, Kenny Dalglish snapped up the Scandinavian stopper for just £400,000.
A versatile defender, Berg helped Blackburn to the Premier League title in 1995, missing just two games all season. Sir Alex Ferguson soon came calling, with the Norwegian joining for £5m in 1997. He went on to play 66 games for the Red Devils and was part of the treble-winning side of 1999. He later returned to Blackburn, helping the club win the League Cup in 2002 as captain.
John Arne-Riise – Liverpool & Fulham – 2001-2008 & 2011-2014
Hot Premier League property in his younger days at Monaco, Riise came close to joining Leeds United in 2000 only for his Ligue 1 employers to push for a bigger fee. In the end he moved to Anfield at year later and never looked back with goals against Arsenal, Everton, Newcastle, and Manchester United in his first season.
All in all, the full-back made 234 league appearances for Liverpool scoring 21 goals for the Reds and helping them to FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League glory before heading to Roma in 2008. He returned three years later with Fulham, though he failed to hit the same heights.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – Manchester United – 1996 – 2007
The man who came to define the term ‘super-sub’ and a key component of Manchester United’s 1999 march to an unprecedented treble, Solskjaer may have mostly made his impact off the bench for the Reds but he remainsa great example to youngsters of a team player working as part of the squad rather than the starting eleven.
A bargain Old Trafford purchase, he managed 91 goals in 235 games for United, including the winner in the 1999 Champions League final, while he also filled in on the right-hand side of midfield in David Beckham’s absence helping the club win countless Premier League titles and FA Cups along the way. He retired in 2007 after struggling with injuries.