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New breed bid for the spotlight in Norway

Some of the Norwegian league's top stars have moved elsewhere or retired in advance but, as UEFA.com discovers, there is plenty of new talent emerging in time for the 2011 campaign.

Brann have high hopes for leggy striker Kim Ojo
Brann have high hopes for leggy striker Kim Ojo ©brann.no

The new Norwegian season begins on Friday, with a number of the most talked about players in the top division set to be absent as Rosenborg BK look to win a third successive title, after ending the 2010 league campaign unbeaten.

SK Brann have lost Erik Huseklepp to AS Bari, Vålerenga Fotball striker Mohammed Abdellaoue is now at Hannover 96, Manchester United FC have taken on Aalesunds BK goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard and Stabæk Fotball frontman Daniel Nannskog has retired. Rosenborg, meanwhile, have said goodbye to striker Steffen Iversen (Crystal Palace FC), midfielder Anthony Annan (FC Schalke 04) and defender Vadim Demidov (Real Sociedad de Fútbol) since claiming the title.

The hope now is that a new generation of players will emerge to take on their mantle, following the example of midfielder Marcus Henriksen. The 18-year-old became a first-team regular with Rosenborg last season, and by the end of the campaign had graduated from the Under-19s to the senior national team, making his debut in a 2-1 friendly defeat against Croatia on 12 October.

Here, UEFA.com introduces five more Norwegian league stars of tomorrow.

Kim Ojo (SK Brann)
Not a new name in Norwegian football, the 22-year-old has scored regularly for Nybergsund IL-Trysil in the second tier. The tall Nigerian forward moved to Brann in the winter and is expected to be a hit with his speed and eye for goal.

Mushaga Bakenga (Rosenborg BK)
Born in Trondheim to parents from DR Congo, the 18-year-old attacker is seen as a natural replacement for seasoned striker Iversen. Watched closely by some of Europe's top clubs, Bakenga is speedy with quick feet and is a reliable goalscorer.

Valon Berisha (Viking FK)
Born in Sweden to Kosovar parents, the 18-year-old midfielder-cum-attacker made his mark in 2010 with Norway's goal of the season, a 25-metre screamer against Lillestrøm SK. Small but technically adept, he boasts an enormous will to win, with Viking coach Åge Hareide likening him to a young Ole Gunnar Solskjær.

Alexander Ruud Tveter (Fredrikstad FK)
Long regarded as one of Norway's most promising young strikers, the 20-year-old will get the chance to prove his worth in the top division after joining promoted Fredrikstad from third-division Follo SK.

Håvard Nielsen (Vålerenga Fotball)
On 5 October 2009, the striker broke a club record, becoming the youngest player ever to represent Vålerenga at senior level. Still just 17, he has the speed and ability to shoot with both feet that suggest more landmark achievements may be to come.