Colchester have signed Norwegian defender Morten Knudsen and have handed a first professional contract to teenager Tom Bender.

Colchester's manager Aidy Boothroyd told the club's official website: "He (Knudsen) has been brought to my attention and I like what I've seen of him in training."

On defender Bender, he commented: "One of the things a club like ours has to rely on is its youth policy.Tom is yet another player to come off our production line. We were keen to tie him up, because he's a player who has already been training regularly with the first team and is a really bright prospect."

Knudsen, the first Norwegian to sign for the club, has joined on a free transfer following an extended trial. The 23-year-old's previous clubs include Skiold and Notodden.

He added: "Morten is a really good prospect, who I hope can break into the team during the rest of this season.

"He can play in both full back positions and is a player who I believe we can mould into another really good player for the club."

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