Brian Deane ready for Norwegian adventure with Sarpsborg

Brian Deane took the road less travelled in his new career as a football manager when he was appointed boss at Norwegian side Sarpsborg in January.

I flew out to talk to the former striker who scored the Premier League's first goal and was met by freezing and frosty conditions with a bitterly cold chill in the air.

It is a far cry from the sunshine-filled pre-season training camps the Yorkshireman had experienced throughout his playing career, which also took in spells in Portugal and Australia.

But he knew getting a coaching or management job in England was never going to be easy. In a 45-minute interview Deane told us how he always felt on the periphery - one of the reasons why he was prepared to make sacrifices and travel around 1,300 miles from Yorkshire to Ostfold County to do something different.

Brian Deane factfile

  • 1968: Born 7 February in Leeds
  • 1985: Makes Football League debut for Fourth Division side Doncaster Rovers
  • 1988: Earns a £40,000 move across South Yorkshire to Third Division side Sheffield United
  • 1991: Makes his England debut on 3 June as a sub in a 1-0 win against New Zealand
  • 1992: Scores the first Premier League goal with an instinctive header against Manchester United at Bramall Lane
  • 1993: Joins hometown club Leeds United in a club-record £2.9m deal
  • 1997: Returns to Sheffield United after scoring 32 goals in 138 appearances for the Elland Road club
  • January 1998: Benfica boss Graeme Souness signs the striker in a shock move
  • October 1998: Moves back to England with Middlesbrough
  • 2001 : Joins Leicester and scores the first competitive goal at their new Walkers Stadium
  • 2003: Spells at West Ham, Leeds, Sunderland and Perth Glory before retiring

The 45-year-old former Leeds and Sheffield United striker, whose first league game is against Lillestrom on Sunday, said: "I'm not the kind of person who thought I would get a job off my reputation as a player.

"I was going through the process with badges and learning away from the game. So it was still frustrating to think that after going through the process I wasn't even going to get the opportunity."

A Premier League manager told me last week that Deane would learn more in 12 months managing in Norway than he would in four years in England.

Heavily gloved up, we spent a few days in the snow and ice of this football-mad city, an hour's drive from Oslo.

We were given unprecedented access to training and even managed to squeeze in a spaghetti bolognaise lunch with the players. You could sense there was a definite buzz around the club, more so than the usual pre-season optimism.

Deane, who is being assisted by Ian Burchnall, was thoughtful, articulate and forthright. As well as discussing the struggles of getting a foot on the managerial ladder, he spoke on a wide range of issues ranging from why more players and managers should move abroad, through to support for ex-pros when they retire.

The Leeds-born forward played for Doncaster, Sheffield United (three times), Leeds (twice), Benfica, Middlesbrough, Leicester, West Ham, Sunderland, Perth Glory and England before retiring in 2006.

He became University of Leeds director of football working with Burchnall before their move to Scandinavia, which was sparked by a meeting with agent Tore Pedersen, the former Blackburn and Wimbledon defender.

"I remember when I left Sheffield United on the last day of the season they gave myself and Craig Short a magnum of champagne and said 'thank you'. I then got downstairs, shut the door behind me and thought 'that's it'. I kind of looked back and thought what's next?"

Creative and inventive were two words that cropped up throughout our conversation; it's something Deane has to be. Sarpsborg 08 is a club prudent with its money - a perfect match if you believe the common stereotype of a Yorkshireman when it comes to his wallet.

The club have one of the smallest budgets in the Tippeligaen and play in a ground that has a capacity of just 5,500. Promoted into Norway's major league last season it was clear the players like having him in charge.

You could tell just by the way they greeted him; each and every one of them shook his hand and asked how he was. It was courteous and polite - simplicity and nature is the core of Norwegian life.

There's a Norwegian saying that reads 'Only he who wanders finds new paths.'

For Brian Deane a whole new life experience could be the start of a very successful future.

You can watch Juliette Ferrington's interview with Brian Deane in Football Focus on Saturday, 16 March at 12:15 GMT on BBC One.