Who is Kjetil Knutsen - the man tipped as Norwich City's next boss?

Bodo Glimt trainer Kjetil Knutsen during the match Roma-Bodo Glimt at the stadio Olimpico. Rome (Ita

Bodo Glimt head coach Kjetil Knutsen has been strongly linked with the vacant manager's position at Norwich City. - Credit: SIPA USA/PA Images

Bodo Glimt have become one of the biggest clubs in Norway in recent seasons, with Kjetil Knutsen, the coach who masterminded it all, being strongly linked with the vacant position at Norwich City.

The 53-year-old is among the bookmaker's favourites to replace Daniel Farke in the Carrow Road dugout and is understood to be open to talking to the Canaries.

 

Few are aware of what Knutsen has achieved in Norway. Not only has he delivered Glimt's first-ever Eliteserien title but his side have also smashed record after record. 

Despite having a modest stadium of just 8,500 and finishing just above the relegation zone in 2018, Knudsen has since helped transform Glimt into one of Norway's best football teams rivalling the likes of Molde, Viking and Rosenberg.

Bodo is a city of just 50,000 people and is a 16-hour drive from the country's capital Oslo.

Knudsen is known for being a calm, process-driven coach with a clear identity of how football should be played. 

Bodo/Glimt are now viewed as one of the best clubs in Scandinavia. Knutsen's tactical set-up revolves around a possession-based 4-3-3 with high pressing that has been maintained even in the high winds provided by the Arctic.

Most Read

All of this has been achieved on a budget with a squad that consists of a high percentage of homegrown and academy based players. 

Prior to joining Bodo, Knutsen started his managerial career with fifth-tier side TIL Holding - two promotions in nine years saw him gain admirers from higher up the pyramid. 

He would go on to join top-tier side Brann as head of player development before becoming manager at Fyllingsdalen in 2012, overseeing just three games in charge. 

Asane was next. Knutsen oversaw 69 games in charge before being dismissed in November 2016 with an average points per game return of 1.32. It took him just two months to return to football with his current employers. 

Kjetil Knutsen in action during the UEFA Europa Conference League group C match between A.S. Roma FK

Kjetil Knutsen has been hugely successful with Norway champions Bodo Glimt. - Credit: SIPA USA/PA Images

Knudsen became head coach of Bodo in 2018 just a year after joining initially as assistant boss to Aasmund Bjørkan, who later became sporting director.

The success and elevation of that club since has been dramatic. 

From a relegation threatened side, Knutsen's work has now seen them move within four games of recording back to back league titles. 

An impressive 6-1 dismantling of Jose Mourinho's Roma propelled Bodo/Glimt into the mainstream of European football last month - Knutsen subsequently joked that he was the 'pretty one'. 

Knutsen has developed a deep affection with his players. Patrick Berg, defensive midfielder for Bodo told the New York Times in 2019 about his best quality: “He listens to his players.”

His identity centres around an intense, purposeful possession-based game, as he explained recently ahead of their trip to Italy to face Roma.

“Dominating doesn’t just mean scoring but also having the possession of the ball and dictating the rules of the game," Knutsen said.

“We want to create a team identity that encompasses everyone; players, staff, managers, fans. We must confront ourselves to be able to create this ‘Bodo model’.”

Their success title tilt last season saw them register 102 goals in a single season, an average of over three per match. Their style on the pitch was described by captain Ulrick Saltnes as 'kamikaze'.

Knutsen's methods have transformed their fortunes and elevated them from a side that bounced between the division's to Norwegian champions. 

It has been a tale of innovation and somewhat of a fairytale. 

With a contract that expires at the end of this current campaign, it's little wonder that Knutsen has had admirers. Rosenberg have made their interest felt. Many in the Norwegian media are expecting him to move on upon the expiration of his current contract in 2022. 

Speaking about Knutsen on the Training Ground Guru podcast, ex-City head of academy recruitment Gregg Broughton praised his ability to focus minds on the present.

"That ability to work in the present has probably been the biggest competitive advantage we have had. Our head coach, Kjetil Knutsen, is an absolute master at it.

"He refuses to look past the next game and training session. He absolutely lives that mantra every day. And it’s a vital part of youth development."

With a strong record of developing young talent, curating an attractive and effective style of play and working to a budget, it is easy to see why Norwich would be considering Knutsen among their main targets. 

NCFC extra: City close in on new boss

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter