Smerud takes over as Norway Under-21 coach

Leif Gunnar Smerud has replaced Tor Ole Skullerud as coach of Norway's Under-21 side, saying: "This is one of the most exciting jobs in Norwegian football."

Leif Gunnar Smerud (Norway)
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Leif Gunnar Smerud has replaced Tor Ole Skullerud as coach of Norway's Under-21 side.

The 37-year-old has signed a three-year contract to lead the U21s, with Skullerud having left to take charge of Molde FK last month after guiding Norway to the semi-finals of the 2013 tournament in Israel. "This is one of the most exciting jobs in Norwegian football at the moment," Smerud said. "I am looking forward to building a team, with the big goal being qualifying for the next EURO. In addition to getting results, this job is also about developing players for the senior side."

Smerud has spent the last three seasons coaching second-division Hønefoss BK, but the former Viking FK youth coach is familiar with the national-team setup having worked as an assistant coach for the senior women's squad. An U21 international himself in the late 1990s, Smerud was a midfielder at Lillestrøm SK, Viking and FK Mandalskameratene among others. He also has a degree in psychology.