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 the game in Aarhus on Sunday are in turmoil over a bitter dispute concerning the players’ commercial rights.
The Danish Football Association (DBU) is set to field a team consisting of domestic players rather than Premier League-based stars such as Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, and Andreas Christensen.
Denmark are playing Slovakia in a friendly today and DBU director Claus Bretton-Meyer told the Danish Broadcasting Corporation they have selected a squad drawn from the first and second divisions of the domestic league.
Members of the national Futsal squad will also feature in the squad, it was reported.
The DBU confirmed 53-year-old Jensen will be in charge of the Slovakia and Wales games rather than national-team coach Age Hareide.
Ireland are due to play Denmark in the Nations League on October 13. The FAI were not commenting yesterday on the upheavals in the Danish camp. Ireland were beaten 5-1 by Denmark in the play-offs for the 2018 World Cup.
“We must field teams in the two international matches to avoid millions in fines and possible exclusion of the national team for several years,” said Kim Hallberg, the federation’s elite manager.
On behalf of the DBU and Danish football, I am pleased that John Faxe Jensen has taken the hard task of being coach for both matches.
Jensen said he was helping out to “mitigate the negative consequences”. He said: “Where we are now, I see only losers in the conflict, and Danish football loses most of all.”
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 just hope to help us get through the two matches and that the parties find a solution as soon as possible,” said Jensen.
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 national women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier against Sweden last October in a dispute over employment conditions. Sweden were awarded a 3-0 win and Uefa fined the DBU, warning 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 the 2020 European Championship.
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,” said Eriksen.
“Let’s renew the old deal by one month. Then we have organised relationships right now and we are prepared to play the international matches this week.
“Sign up and we will sit on the plane immediately. We are ready and we will play.”