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Dublin: 2°C Monday 12 April 2021

Ex-Arsenal midfielder named temporary Denmark boss as futsal players set to line out

John Jensen has been put in charge of the crisis-hit nation ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Slovakia.

Jensen is a former assistant manager of Blackburn Rovers.
Jensen is a former assistant manager of Blackburn Rovers.
Image: Nick Potts/PA Archive/PA Images

DENMARK HAVE NAMED John Jensen temporary first-team coach for Wednesday’s friendly with Slovakia, as an unspecified squad of players heads to Bratislava.

Plans for Denmark’s games with Slovakia and the Uefa Nations League clash with Wales have been thrown into disarray by a dispute between the Danish Football Association (DBU) and the senior players.

A row over commercial rights has led to concerns the squad will boycott the coming matches, meaning the DBU could risk a substantial Uefa fine and suspension from tournaments if the games are forfeited.

With head coach Age Hareide also involved in the dispute, Denmark have decided to place former Arsenal midfielder Jensen in charge of the team for the Slovakia match, which Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet are reporting includes uncapped players from lower leagues and the national futsal team. 

“We must hold the two international matches to avoid fines of millions and the possible exclusion of the national team for several years,” said DBU’s team manager Kim Hallberg. 

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

Ex-Gunners man Jensen added: “When I say yes to help here, it’s because I feel very strongly for the national team as an institution, and because I think the most important thing must be that the games will be played.

I just hope to get us through the two matches and that the parties find a solution as soon as possible.”

Earlier today, Christian Eriksen called for a truce between the DBU and the Spillerforeningen, the Danish footballers’ union, so Denmark could play the Slovakia and Wales matches at full strength and avoid serious repercussions.

Last year, the women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier with Sweden over a pay dispute. The DBU was fined and warned Denmark could be excluded from any Uefa tournament if another match was cancelled in the next four years.

DBU communications manager Jakob Hoyer insisted this week the organisation did not want to discuss a new deal on the eve of matches and be forced into an unsatisfactory agreement.

“We do not want to negotiate so close to international matches,” he said. “That was what happened in 2015 and led to a historically poor national team agreement that has created so many problems.”

Denmark face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on 13 October. 

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