Morten Gamst Pedersen

Premier League Career: Blackburn Rovers (2004-2012)

Morten Gamst Pedersen is now back playing for the club where he initially made his breakthrough, Tromsø. Pedersen was successful for his international country, Norway. He was capped more than 80 times and spent eleven years on the international scene, scoring 17 goals.

Pedersen made his breakthrough in the Norwegian Premier League with Tromsø, scoring seven goals in the 2004 season before he made the move into English football with Blackburn Rovers, spending the next eight years with the former Premier League champions. It was Graeme Souness who signed Pedersen and he made his debut in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the end of August. However, Souness left shortly afterwards to take the job at Newcastle United. His successor, Mark Hughes didn’t select Pedersen in any of his early matches, preferring to trust players with Premier League experience to climb Blackburn away from relegation trouble.

Seen as the long-term natural successor to Damien Duff, Pedersen’s breakthrough year at Blackburn came in 2005. In January, he scored in three successive matches, including a crucial winner in an away encounter at Portsmouth. He finished the season having appeared 27 times in all competitions, scoring eight times. He made a spectacular start to the 2005-2006 season, scoring a fabulous volley in a home victory over Fulham which won the BBC Goal of the Month award for August 2005. A month later, Morten scored both goals in Blackburn’s excellent 2-1 victory at Old Trafford against Manchester United. He made the left-side position in midfield his own, scoring nine goals as Blackburn finished in a brilliant sixth position in the Premier League table.

Six goals followed in 2006-2007 but Pedersen’s most prominent days as a key matchwinning figure for Blackburn had already passed him by. In Paul Ince’s short reign in 2008, Pedersen found himself more often out of the team and scored just once all campaign and that wasn’t until May in a victory against Portsmouth. Against Arsenal that season, he produced one of the most ridiculous diving incidents ever seen in the Premier League which won him no fans from neutrals of the game who are desperate to see diving stamped out of football.

In 2009-2010, Pedersen was given the opportunity to leave Blackburn but he eventually went on to sign a four-year contract extension at the end of the season. He rediscovered some of his 2005 form during November 2010, scoring four times in the month, including an outstanding free-kick from a virtually impossible angle in a 2-0 home win over Aston Villa.

Blackburn were relegated from the top-flight in 2012 and after one further campaign playing in the Championship, he was allowed to leave. After a protracted move to FC Copenhagen broke down, Morten moved to Turkish outfit Karabükspor on a free transfer. He made 288 appearances in all competitions for Blackburn on his departure from Lancashire. After just 10 appearances with them, he returned to his homeland, signing for Rosenborg in March 2014. In February 2016, he returned to Tromsø, initially on a one-year contract but his form has seen him stay with the club ever since.

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