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Young Danes impress Mølby

Published: Saturday 27 May 2006, 10.55CET
Jan Mølby believes Denmark "are strong with good players in key areas" and can have a major say in the destiny of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
by Adrian Harte
from Aveiro
 

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Published: Saturday 27 May 2006, 10.55CET

Young Danes impress Mølby

Jan Mølby believes Denmark "are strong with good players in key areas" and can have a major say in the destiny of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

Former Danish international midfield player Jan Mølby believes Denmark are realistic contenders to win the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Portugal.

Kahlenberg praise
Mølby, who won 33 caps after making his international debut aged 18, is in Portugal working for Danish broadcaster TV2. Speaking after the Scandinavians drew their second game of the tournament, 1-1 against the Netherlands, he told uefa.com: "It is the strongest U21 team that we have had for a number of years. They have been together for two or three years now and obviously the fact that we haven't qualified for the [FIFA] World Cup means that all our players are available. We are strong and have some good players in key areas - the two centre halves in particular are very strong and Thomas Kahlenberg is a very good, technical goalscoring midfield player. If we beat Ukraine we are in the semi-finals and I think we are going to have a say in this tournament."

Agger verdict
Mølby speaks in a broad Scouse accent, a legacy of his time with Liverpool FC between 1984 and 1996 and thus has a keen interest in the Reds' Danish U21 central defender Daniel Agger, who sustained a nasty head injury against the Dutch. Mølby said: "His career has been a hundred miles an hour. He has come from nowhere. After making his debut for Brøndby [IF] the next thing he is in the senior national team and before he could say boo to anyone he's playing for Liverpool so it is going to take a little bit of time before he comes to the forefront. He's a big talent, he just needs to grow up a bit and get a little stronger but he is going to be an excellent player."

One to watch
Mølby believes Arsenal FC striker Nicklas Bendtner is another one to watch: "I think he is the one we are hanging our hopes on. We think now that he is possibly ready for our full squad. I think he is going to be a sensational player for the future." Mølby, dubbed "one of the finest midfield players of his generation" by his former Liverpool team-mate Kenny Dalglish, also thinks Rasmus Würtz is excelling. "A tournament like this is ideal for him. He has had two good games now. He is a leader, he is a motivator, he is the captain and he has every opportunity to go on [to play outside Denmark] and it is just a question of where. There is interest from Germany and the Netherlands and it is not unthinkable that come August he'll be playing somewhere else."

Tournament boost
And Mølby is convinced that the tournament is of great benefit to the players. "Any major international competition where you can represent your country is fantastic," he said. "When I was younger I played at the European Under-18 Championship and it is the greatest thing in the world to go somewhere in a big tournament: all the other big football nations are there, you are representing your country and you are trying to become European champions. This competition is a big thing. There is a lot of coverage from the Danish press, we have quite a few fans here and it is a big thing for Denmark. It is a fantastic experience for the players and it will stand them in great stead."

 
Last updated: 27/05/06 16.37CET

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