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Pellerud 'excited' by Norway squad

"This set of players makes me excited about leading them in the finals," said Norway coach Even Pellerud after naming his squad for Sweden, which is shorn of two key forwards.

Even Pellerud returned as Norway coach late last year
Even Pellerud returned as Norway coach late last year ©Sportsfile

Norway coach Even Pellerud say he is "excited" by the squad he has named today for UEFA Women’s EURO 2013.

Pellerud, who led Norway when they became the last team other than Germany to win the title in 1993 before adding the FIFA Women's World Cup two years later, returned after qualifying to resume his role as national coach. Without injured forwards Isabell Herlovsen and Cecilie Pedersen – respectively the teenage sensations of the 2005 and 2009 finals – Pellerud has included new young talents like Kristine Hegland, Caroline Graham Hansen and Ada Hegerberg in a squad with half an eye to the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

"We have a squad with different qualities like speed, technique, intelligence and dribbling abilities," Pellerud. "This set of players makes me excited about leading them in the finals."

The Norway coach puts the players into three categories. "The first are the veterans like Ingvild Stensland, Ingrid Hjelmseth and Marit Fiane Christensen. They have played well for Norway over a long period, and are still developing.

"The second are young players like Kristine Hegland, Caroline Graham Hansen and Ada Hegerberg. They have started to make their mark in the last six months, and will also do that in the EUROs and beyond. The third are players that can play well in different positions, and who can be trusted on and off the pitch, like Maren Mjelde and Marita Skammelsrud Lund."

Having reached the 2009 semi-finals, their target is to repeat that, but with Germany, the Netherlands and Iceland to come in their Group B fixtures in Kalmar, Pellerud – whose team travel to France for a friendly on 29 June – warned: "We need the players to lift themselves 15-20% from where we were in January."

Norway squad
Goalkeepers: Ingrid Hjelmseth (Stabæk FK), Silje Vesterbekkmo (Røa IL), Nora Neset Gjøen (Kolbotn IL).

Defenders: Toril Hetland Akerhaugen (Stabæk FK), Nora Holstad Berge (Arna-Bjørnar), Marit Fiane Christensen (Amazon Grimstad FK), Kristine Wigdahl Hegland (Arna-Bjørnar), Marita Skammelsrud Lund (Lillestrøm SK), Maren Mjelde (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam).

Midfielders: Ingrid Ryland (Arna-Bjørnar), Trine Rønning (Stabæk FK), Cathrine Høegh Dekkerhus (Stabæk FK), Solveig Gulbrandsen (Vålerenga FB), Gry Tofte Ims (Klepp IL), Ingvild Stensland (Stabæk FK), Ingvild Isaksen (Kolbotn IL).

Forwards: Leni Larsen Kaurin (Stabæk FK), Lene Mykjåland (Lillestrøm SK), Emilie Bosshard Haavi (Lillestrøm SK), Caroline Graham Hansen (Stabæk FK), Ada Hegerberg (1. FFC Turbine Potsdam), Elise Thorsnes (Stabæk FK), Melissa Bjånesøy (IL Sandviken).

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