Relishing the chance to improve as a referee at the 2017 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, Jens Maae has described his appointment for Friday's final as a "great honour".
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Danish official Jens Maae has been chosen to referee the 2017 UEFA European Under-17 Championship final on Friday between Spain and England.
The physiotherapist from Silkeborg will be accompanied at NK Varaždin stadium – kick-off 20:00CET – by assistants Mika Lamppu from Finland and Russia's Alexei Vorontcov, while Greek Anastasios Papapetrou will act as the fourth official.
The title decider will be Maae's third assignment as a man in the middle in Croatia, none of which involved either of the finalists, and the biggest of an international career that began when he ascended to the FIFA list in 2014.
"This is a very important tournament for all of us because we're learning from the best observers in the world," Maae told UEFA.com. "It's vital to perform well and continuously improve."
Maae, who has been overseeing top-flight games in his homeland since the beginning of the 2012/13 campaign, describes his appointment as a "big relief and a great honour", adding: "The championship is not only important for the players but also for the referees too. I'm very happy."
The fixture in Varazdin – a city approximately 80km north of Croatian capital Zagreb – will be his 17th UEFA engagement of a season that started on 7 July in San Marino with a UEFA Europa League first qualifying round encounter.
During that time Maae has served in a variety of roles and locations, from handling a UEFA Youth League tie in the Netherlands and working as a fourth official at a European Qualifier in Moldova to being an additional assistant referee at San Siro for a UEFA Europa League group stage game involving Internazionale Milano.
"It's a big advantage to feel the pressure from matches at the highest level," he explained. "I'm lucky to travel with the best referees in Denmark. It's useful to be able to bring that experience into this tournament. Seeing the huge stadiums and feeling the pressure of being at the top will only help you improve."
For now, though, the 35-year-old is concentrating fully on the job in hand: the third meeting of Spain and England in a U17 EURO showpiece, after 2007 and 2010.
"I watched a couple of their matches, live and on television, so I've done my homework," he said. "I've also spoken to my colleagues about them, so I feel well prepared. Ideally, we'll be speaking about a good match that featured a lot of teamwork and cooperation. Hopefully it'll be an entertaining game for the officials, the teams and the spectators."