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Christian Eriksen and Manchester United’s other great Danes

Star set to become sixth player to represent Reds from Denmark

by Paul Speller

With the imminent signing of Christian Eriksen, Manchester United supporters would see the Brentford star become just the sixth player hailing from Denmark to play for the club, further strengthening the Ajax connection as well as a very familiar Danish one!

As new United boss, Erik ten Hag, looks to add to his first signing in Tyrell Malacia, Eriksen, a former Ajax player himself, would bring more than a hint of nostalgia to Old Trafford regarding great Danes of the past.

Former United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel is arguably the pick of the bunch, winning not only 15 major trophies in his time with the Reds, but also being the most capped player for Denmark with a record 129 appearances.

The highlight of his international career was undoubtedly helping his country to an unexpected win the UEFA European championships in 1992, with a 2-0 win over Germany in the final.

After signing for United from Brondby in 1992, the then 28 year old went on to make 398 appearances in all competitions, spending 8
eight seasons playing under former boss Sir Alex Ferguson and winning the Premier League five times.

Despite famously winning the treble in 1998/1999, Schmeichel, by now a veteran, departed the club for Sporting in Portugal, and went on to play for another 4 seasons at the highest level before retiring in 2003.

Schmeichel was not the only Danish goalkeeper to play for United, Anders Lindegaard played 19 times for the club between 2010-2015. Lindegaard was a safe pair of hands who had the misfortune of being backup to two of the club’s greatest ever keepers in Edwin van der Sar and David de Gea, otherwise he would almost certainly have played more often.

Mads Timm, a young attacker who joined United’s youth set up in 2000 at 16 years old, only went on to make a single Champions League outing before being released by the club in 2006. He was a tremendous talent who at times looked a class above the rest of the academy, but off-field distractions got in the way and his potential was, unfortunately, never fulfilled.

John Sivebæk, an established international and goal scoring full-back, joined United in 1986. Despite playing 34 times in his debut year for The Reds and scoring the very first goal of Fergusons’ 26 year tenure, the defender left for France.

Earning 82 caps for his country, Sivebæk also went on to play alongside Schmeichel in the successful Euros final win in ‘92 before retiring back in Danish football.

Last, but not least is another ex Ajax star, Jesper Olsen. The tricky winger signed from the Dutch giants in 1984 and went on to become an Old Trafford favourite, scoring 24 goals in 176 matches. He won the FA Cup with United in 1985 under Ron Atkinson.

As United look set to secure the services of Eriksen, it will bring a feeling of familiarity to many, and the hope that past glories can be restored to the Red side of Manchester.

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