Settled Erik seeking to make name in English game

Erik Huseklepp
Erik Huseklepp
An artist's impression for Pompey's ambitious plans for a new stadium at The Hard they released on April 24, 2007

On this day in pictures: Pompey’s ambitious stadium plans

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Erik Huseklepp quit the ‘forgotten league’ to make a name for himself with Pompey.

Now he is determined to ensure everybody in England sits up and takes notice of his talents.

It has been eight weeks since the Norwegian international left life in Italy.

The 27-year-old opted to quit newly-relegated Serie B side Bari in favour of the Blues in a £1.5m deal.

For Huseklepp, it was a decision motivated by his desire to play regularly in this country.

He had already played at Goodison Park three-and-a-half years ago in a Uefa Cup tie for SK Brann.

On that occasion, the Norwegians suffered a 6-1 hammering by Everton in February 2008, Huseklepp appearing as a 60th-minute substitute.

His only other taste of England was with Norway’s under-21s.

Since his south-coast arrival, though, he has started the past six matches and scored once.

Steadily his performances are improving as he adjusts to the English game.

And Huseklepp is desperate to show the country what he can achieve on the football field.

He said: ‘I am still adjusting – I’m adjusting to how we play.

‘I am new here and I am trying to get used to the league.

‘It’s very high tempo in this country, things go up and down – up and down all the time.

‘It’s completely different to where I played before.

‘I didn’t want to stay in Serie B. It is like a forgotten league, you know. That is what I have been told.

‘Instead I wanted to move and the Championship is a very tough league and a very good challenge for me.

‘Of course, I have always had a dream to play in the Premier League but I am at Portsmouth – that is my focus now and I am enjoying myself here.

‘It’s a country I have wanted to play in and now I’m here, I want to do well and show people what I can achieve.

‘I’ve been to England before when I’ve played for the under-21s and then against Everton in the old Uefa Cup.

‘Now I have the chance for regular football with Portsmouth. It is great.

‘There are ups and downs but I am still trying to adjust to the league and will keep on working.’

Huseklepp has spent the past week on international duty with Norway ahead of last night’s Euro 2012 qualifier with Cyprus.

The forward is regarded as one of his country’s most talented players at present.

Meanwhile, back in England, Pompey fans have seen glimpses of what he can offer.

A six-minute cameo against Bristol City, the cross for David Norris to net against West Ham.

And, of course, the spectacular last-gasp winner against Blackpool.

Although, on the other side of the coin, there was the injury-time own goal which gifted Peterborough a win at Fratton Park.

Nonetheless, Huseklepp is still feeling his way in English football.

But he believes he is beginning to settle.

He added: ‘The manager and club have welcomed me fantastically.

‘I couldn’t ask for a better start socially because they are a great group of lads who have taken care of me from day one.

‘I have been part of a group very early. Everybody talks to you, you are not alone.

‘It’s a bit different from where I came from in Italy, I was a bit more lost because of the language.

‘Now I know the language, everything is easier and the group of lads here have treated me fantastically.’