Ole Soderberg

By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter

After more than four years at Newcastle United without making a first-team appearance, goalkeeper Ole Soderberg has admitted that it was time to move on.

But the Sweden under-21 international, who completed a move to reigning Norwegian champions Molde FK over the weekend, will always hold an affection for the Magpies and the city which he has called home since January 2008.

Former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who led Molde to the Tippeligaen title last term, hopes the Norrkoping-born 21-year-old can provide competition for Norway international keeper Espen Bugge Pettersen.

And with the current season in Norway having started last month, Soderberg can't wait to get started in his new Scandinavian surroundings - but came in to say his goodbyes at United's Benton training ground on Monday and spoke to nufc.co.uk for the final time.

"I love Newcastle and I always will do," he said. "But it's my time to move on and all the lads and the coaches understand how it is. They've done it themselves, most of them, but I'm going to miss them, that's for sure."

"I'll come back here to visit, and it will be sad to leave but it's what you have to do when you play football. You have to move on sometimes and right now is my time.

"I thought it was an obvious move, really. It's a good club and I'm sure they're going to help me in every way, especially with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer there. I'll be definitely fighting very hard to get the first spot. I'm just thinking about restarting my career and playing hopefully some first-team games."

Despite failing to play in a senior game, Soderberg started in every round without conceding a goal as United's Reserves won the Sage Northumberland FA Senior Cup last term and was also named as a substitute 15 times in the Barclays Premier League, as well as once more in the current campaign.

He was on the bench when the Magpies beat Sunderland 5-1 in October 2010 and that day will stay with him forever.

"There are loads of good memories," he said. "Obviously when I signed here was a good memory and I've got so many other ones as well, but Sunderland was the biggest one for me. It was so big for the team, and from my point of view as well it was so big to experience the kind of atmosphere that goes on when it's a derby game.

"I will never forget that game. I'll never forget any of them because that was an experience in itself as well. To go to Arsenal and Manchester City and be on the bench against Sunderland is a very big experience, even if you are only on the bench. You obviously get more if you play, but to be on the bench for me as a young lad was a great experience.

"You watch every millisecond of the game so closely. You feel like you're in it. You get very excited if something happens. I remember at Arsenal, Tim went down - he hurt his foot or something - and Paul (Barron, the former Goalkeeping Coach) turned around around to tell me I should warm up.

"But I was already up before he could even tell me! That was quite exciting."

And although he never played under Kevin Keegan, Joe Kinnear, Alan Shearer, Chris Hughton or Alan Pardew, Soderberg learned from some top goalkeepers including Steve Harper, Shay Given and Tim Krul.

"Even when I was 15 years old, Tim told me about his experiences and helped me a lot with that," he revealed. 

"Harps and Shay Given too - they all have helped me a lot, as did Andy Woodman and Paul Barron, who was my coach for a long time. So I want to thank all of them for the help they gave me.

"I learnt a lot. I've got much more professional when it comes to doing extra work and listening, and I've grown as a person here."

Now, he is looking forward to gaining more life experience in Molde - although it won't be the first time he has lived in Norway.

"I lived in Stavanger between the age of four and nine." he explained. "My mum and dad got a job there in the music business when I was four, so we moved from Sweden and stayed for five years. Then when I was nine, I moved to Gothenburg and that's when I started my football career.

"I don't remember much of the Norwegian language but I remember some words so it's alright. It's just the accent they have - they speak quickly and you don't understand a word sometimes, which will make it a bit difficult to understand everything they say. But it'll be fine."