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Eriksen, Kjær delighted to get Danish U21 call

Full internationals Christian Eriksen and Simon Kjær are notable inclusions in the 40-man Denmark squad named by Keld Bordinggaard and cannot wait to represent the hosts at the finals.

Christian Eriksen (red shirt) is looking forward to teaming up with his U21 peers
Christian Eriksen (red shirt) is looking forward to teaming up with his U21 peers ©Getty Images

Denmark's prospects of winning the UEFA European Under-21 Championship have been boosted by the inclusion of full internationals Christian Eriksen and Simon Kjær in the provisional 40-man squad announced by coach Keld Bordinggaard today.

Attacking midfielder Eriksen and central defender Kjær have already won 13 and 16 senior caps respectively – and will bring that extra know-how to the host nation when they face Switzerland, Belarus and Iceland in Group A next month.

"I have been expecting to take part all along," said the 19-year-old Eriksen, who made four UEFA Champions League appearances for AFC Ajax this season. "My club and [Denmark] coach Morten Olsen had some concerns about me earlier this year, particularly as we had a tight schedule with Ajax, and I am grateful to them for that, but they have backed my decision to play for the U21s. I will love getting back with my team-mates and playing these finals with my generation. It is a really exciting challenge."

Another highly rated talent, Kjær – who has played 31 Bundesliga matches since joining VfL Wolfsburg from US Città di Palermo last summer – is similarly enthused by the prospect of representing his country at the finals. "I always said I would really like to return to the U21s and be part of the tournament," said the 22-year-old. "It will be great to play a championship on home soil. I will use all the experience I acquired with the seniors at these finals."

One eligible player who will not be participating is Arsenal FC striker Nicklas Bendtner, who cited family commitments as his reason for opting out. "In order to spend some quality time with my young son, I feel I have to abstain from playing this tournament," he said.

Provisional Denmark squad
Goalkeepers: Jonas Lössl (FC Midtjylland), Kristian Fæste (Vejle BK), Nicklas Højlund (Lyngby BK), Mikkel Andersen (Reading FC), Michael Falkesgaard (Brøndby IF).

Defenders: Anders Randrup (Brøndby IF), Andreas Bjelland (FC Nordsjælland), Brian Hamalainen (Lyngby BK), Daniel Wass (Brøndby IF), Daniel Stenderup (Brøndby IF), Daniel Høegh (Odense BK), Frederik Sørensen (Juventus), Jannick Vestergaard (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), Jesper Juelsgaard (FC Midtjylland), Lasse Nielsen (Aalborg BK), Mads Fenger (Randers FC), Mathias Jørgensen (FC København), Michael Lumb (Aalborg BK), Nicolai Boilesen (AFC Ajax), Simon Kjær (VfL Wolfsburg).

Midfielders: Christian Eriksen (AFC Ajax), Janus Drachmann (AC Horsens), Jens Stryger Larsen (Brøndby IF), Kasper Povlsen (AGF Århus), Mads Albæk (FC Midtjylland), Martin Svensson (Silkeborg IF), Mathias Gehrt (Brøndby IF), Matti Lund Nielsen (FC Nordsjælland), Mike Jensen (Brøndby IF), Thomas Delaney (FC København).

Forwards: Anders Christiansen (Lyngby BK), Andreas Laudrup (FC Nordsjælland), Bashkim Kadrii (Odense BK), Henrik Dalsgaard (Aalborg BK), Nicki Bille Nielsen (Villarreal CF), Nicolai Jørgensen (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Nicolai Agger (Brøndby IF), Patrick Mortensen (Lyngby BK), Simon Christoffersen (HB Køge), Søren Frederiksen (SønderjyskE).