By Philip O'Connor
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Norway have named former Wolverhampton Wanderers and FC Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken as their new coach, replacing Swede Lars Lagerback who stepped down by mutual consent after three years in the job, the country's FA has announced.
The 52-year-old coach, whose playing career ended abruptly in 2001 when he suffered a heart attack while training with FC Copenhagen, led the Danish club to eight league titles and the group stages of the Champions League during two spells in charge.
He has also managed German side FC Cologne was in charge at Wolves in the 2012-13 season.
"Stale has a great coaching capacity and he knows Norwegian football very well. He has good coaching experience, and he has delivered strong performances internationally for many years," Norwegian Football Federation president (NFF) president Terje Svendsen said when announcing the coach's four-year deal.
"I am proud and honoured to have been offered the job as the new national team manager. For me, this is a good time to take over. Lars Lagerback and (assistant) Per Joar Hansen have done a solid job and developed a foundation that will be exciting to work on," Solbakken added in a statement.
Solbakken takes over a young side featuring the goalscoring power of Dortmund's Erling Braut-Haaland and the playmaking prowess of Real Madrid's Martin Odegaard. They rose 40 places in the FIFA rankings during Lagerback's tenure.
"We are convinced that you will succeed, especially considering that today there are 7-8 young players, who as early as 2018-19 started to establish themselves in the Norwegian national team ... With this mix of players, we are convinced that you will get good results in the future," former Iceland coach Lagerback said in a statement following the news that he and assistant Hansen were to step down.
(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Toby Davis)