Jensen to take charge of Denmark squad featuring lower-league and futsal players

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Former Arsenal midfielder John Jensen will take charge of Denmark’s UEFA Nations League opener against Wales after the row which has rocked Danish football took an extraordinary twist.

Denmark’s preparations for Wednesday’s friendly with Slovakia and the game against Wales in Aarhus on Sunday are in turmoil over the bitter dispute concerning the players’ commercial rights.

The Danish Football Association (DBU) on Tuesday named a team consisting of domestic players – and even some drawn from indoor futsal – rather than Premier League-based stars such as Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel and Andreas Christensen.

The DBU confirmed 53-year-old Jensen will be in charge of the Slovakia and Wales games rather than national-team coach Age Hareide.

“Where we are now, I see only losers in the conflict, and Danish football loses most of all,” Jensen told the official DBU website.

“When I say yes to help here, it’s because I feel very, very strong for the national team as an institution, and because I think the most important thing must be that the games will be played.”

Jensen, who scored in Denmark’s Euro 1992 final victory against Germany, spent eight months coaching in the Premier League at Blackburn in 2011.

He went on to become a consultant at Brondby and spent fours years in charge of Danish club Fremad Amager between 2014 and 2018.

“I do not consider the matter between DBU and the players, my yes is not an expression of it,” Jensen said. “I just hope to help us get through the two matches and that the parties find a solution as soon as possible.

“The national team has meant infinitely much to me in my career and in my life.

“It hurts to follow this course, and I hope my contribution can help mitigate the negative consequences.”

Denmark, who reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia this summer and are ninth in the FIFA rankings, have been beset by internal problems over the past 12 months.

The women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier against Sweden in October 2017 in a dispute over employment conditions.

Sweden were awarded a 3-0 win and UEFA fined the DBU £18,000, and also warned that Denmark would be barred from UEFA tournaments if it cancelled another match in the next four years.

So failing to play Wales would almost certainly see Denmark expelled from Euro 2020.

DBU elite manager Kim Hallberg said: “We must field teams in the two international matches to avoid millions in fines and possible exclusion of the national team for several years.

“On behalf of DBU and Danish football, I am pleased that John Faxe Jensen has taken the hard task of being coach in both matches.”

Tottenham midfielder Eriksen had earlier called for a truce in the row and said Denmark’s players were willing to play the two games under the terms of the old commercial rights agreement.

“We have to solve this conflict now, not just digging the ditches deeper,” Eriksen said on the Danish Players’ Association website.

“So let’s renew the old deal by one month. Sign up and we will sit on the plane immediately. We are ready and we will play.”

Failure to reach such an agreement left an unfamiliar squad, including players from third-tier club Avarta, fourth-tier Vanlose and four who appeared in the 2016 Futsal World Cup and play for club side Jaegersborg.

Denmark squad to face Slovakia and Wales:

Morten Bank (Avarta), Christoffer Haagh (Jaegersborg futsal), Christian Bannis (TPI), Mads Priisholm Bertelsen (TPI), Christian Bommelund Christensen (Jaegersborg futsal), Victor Hansen (Frederikssund), Nicolai Johansen (Vanlose), Daniel Nielsen (Vanlose), Kasper Skraep (TPI), Anders Hunsballe (Greve), Oskar Hojbye (Vanlose), Rasmus Gaudin (Vanlose), Adam Fogt (Kastrup), Christopher Jakobsen (Hillerod), Rasmus Johanson (HIK), Kevin Jorgensen (Jaegersborg futsal), Kasper Kempel (Skovshoved), Simon Vollesen (Birkerod), Anders Fonss (TPI), Troels Cillius Nielsen (Birkerod), Christian Offenberg (Avarta), Daniel Holm Sorensen (Skovshoved), Louis Veis (Jaegersborg futsal).

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