herald

Monday 10 December 2018

Danes plan to soldier on without Christian

PLAN: Jon Dahl Tomasson. Pic; Sportsfile
PLAN: Jon Dahl Tomasson. Pic; Sportsfile

Denmark have a plan for how to cope without star man Christian Eriksen in Saturday's game against Ireland in Dublin.

They just don't want Martin O'Neill, or anyone else for that matter, to know about it.

And that's why the media were excluded from the training session held yesterday by a Danish side who are usually open when it comes to access for press and supporters.

Denmark are not a one-man team but they do rely very heavily on Spurs player Erisken, the main architect of their clinical dismissal of Ireland in Dublin 11 months ago.

He is absent for this game due to a stomach complaint and replacing Eriksen is no easy task, but one they have to face.

"When Christian isn't here, other players have to take over. Then we'll find the right solution," Denmark's assistant manager Jon Dahl Tomasson said.

"We have a plan to replace him, and we are pretty sure of that plan."

To make sure no clues about that plan leaked out, the Danish squad closed off access to their training session yesterday at their base in Vildbjerg, a four-hour drive from the capital Copenhagen.

"It happens around the world. We do not close off training for the sake of it, we will try something tactically," added Tomasson.

"It may be that the Irish are not so good at Danish, but some things can be translated.

"It can be nice to try out some things without anyone being able to watch. We should not give the Irish too much, because we have to win on Saturday."

Eriksen will be missed but the Danish squad is still full of quality players, a batch of them in action for their clubs in recent weeks in the group stages of the Champions League and Europa League, competitions which have been free of any Irish involvement for two years.

Scoring goals is a problem, though. With established men including Eriksen and Nicklas Bendtner out, not one player in the current Danish squad is in double figures when it comes to international goals.

RB Leipzig man Yussuf Poulsen is their leading scorer with five goals, ahead of Andreas Cornelius (Bordeaux) and Thomas Delaney (Borussia Dortmund).

And it's a sign that their pool of talent is not the deepest as the player called up in place of Eriksen is Christian Gytkjær, a 28-year-old who plays his club football in Poland and has been capped just once.

"I have not given much thought to the national team. I had a hard time in Germany, so I've focused on doing well every day at my Polish club and it has opened an opportunity for me at the national team now, and of course I'm really happy," said Gytkjær.

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