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Familiar threat puts Andersen on high alert

Published: Friday 17 June 2011, 17.45CET
Revelling in playing on home soil, goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen is not underestimating the threat posed to his Denmark side by Iceland, and former club-mate Gylfi Sigurdsson in particular.
by Simon Hart
from Aalborg
Familiar threat puts Andersen on high alert
Mikkel Andersen is likely to face former club-mate Gylfi Sigurdsson on Saturday ©fodboldbilleder

Tournament statistics

IcelandDenmark

Goals scored3
 
3
Attempts on target9
 
26
Attempts off target18
 
19
Corners11
 
14
Fouls committed46
 
47
Yellow cards7
 
4
Red Cards1
 
0

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Published: Friday 17 June 2011, 17.45CET

Familiar threat puts Andersen on high alert

Revelling in playing on home soil, goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen is not underestimating the threat posed to his Denmark side by Iceland, and former club-mate Gylfi Sigurdsson in particular.

Iceland may have not found the net yet at the Under-21 finals, but Denmark goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen knows plenty about the scoring potential in their squad – not least in the right boot of Gylfi Sigurdsson.

We know Iceland have quality and they've been unlucky in their first two games. We know they have the individual skills and they can perform, we've seen that in the play-offs and the games up to this tournament
Mikkel Andersen

For several years Andersen saw the quality of Sigurdsson, now a TSG 1899 Hoffenheim player, on the training pitch each day at English club Reading FC. "Gylfi has great skills and a great right foot, I've stood in the goal in training while he has been practising," he said on the eve of the hosts' decisive Group A fixture on Saturday.

"He is a great lad and I am good friends with him," Andersen continued. "He has great potential as a player and has massive talent, I really rate him but at the same time we have to just get focused on the game now. We know Iceland have quality and they've been unlucky in their first two games. We know they have the individual skills and they can perform, we've seen that in the play-offs and the games up to this tournament."

While Sigurdsson became Reading's player of the year before leaving for Germany, Andersen is still waiting for his first appearance for the English second-tier club, more than four years after his January 2007 transfer from Copenhagen's Akademisk Boldklub. The 22-year-old has got no further than the bench but did spend 18 months on loan at Bristol Rovers FC until January, making 58 league appearances.

"The experience has given me a lot of games," he said of his time in England's third division. "I went back to Reading and had full focus on getting ready for this tournament. For me it has been a very good season. I came here with lots of confidence and self-belief. I want to play at the highest level and for me that is England."

Reading's website ran a story on Friday about Andersen's involvement in the Danish effort, titled 'One million to watch Mikkel!' – a reference to the number of TV viewers here who tuned in to Tuesday's win against Belarus. The player himself, voted best goalkeeper at last summer's Toulon tournament, is certainly enjoying the opportunity to "show people what I can do" on home soil.

"You get a lot of attention from your family and friends who are watching you. They can't do that when I am playing [in England]. They just hear about me when I am on the phone – and praising myself!"

Ironically, so far it is the opposition custodians in Denmark's games who have caught the eye, with Switzerland's Yann Sommer and Belarus's Aleksandr Gutor both excelling against the host team. "That is more credit to us that we've created so many goal chances, but of course credit to the keeper at the other end too – especially Sommer in the first game." That said, Andersen will be ready to impress if called upon at his own end – even if it means spoiling an old friend's Saturday night.

Last updated: 19/06/11 12.29CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2011/matches/round=2000002/match=2003395/prematch/focus/index.html#andersen+alert

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