Christian Eriksen wants truce as Denmark set to field lower division players against Wales

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Christian Eriksen has called for a truce in the extraordinary row that threatens to see Denmark field uncapped players from the lower divisions against Wales on Sunday.

Denmark’s preparations for their UEFA Nations League game opener against Wales are in turmoil after an extraordinary row over the players’ commercial rights.

The Danish football Association (DBU), fearing the prospect of a UEFA ban if they do not fulfil the fixture in Aarhus, have invited players from Superligaen and the first and second divisions in domestic football to play in Denmark’s two games, rather than stars like Tottenham midfielder Eriksen and Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Former Arsenal midfielder John Jensen has been named as the Denmark manager for their Nations League opener against Wales, with regular manager Age Hareide told to stay at home.

The Danes have a friendly in Slovakia on Wednesday and it has been reported in Denmark that a 23-man squad will gather on Tuesday afternoon to fly to Bratislava.

But the Danish Player Association (Spillerforeningen) have urged the DBU to reconsider and told the governing body that the national squad is willing to play the two games under the terms of their old agreement.

“We have to solve this conflict now, not just digging the ditches deeper,” Tottenham star Eriksen said in a statement published on the Spillerforeningen website.

“So we’re happy to stretch our hand again, even though DBU put it away in the first try.

“Let’s renew the old deal by one month. Then we have organised relationships right now and we are prepared to play the international matches this week.

“And then we have time after the two international matches to negotiate the entire agreement in place. It does not make sense if DBU does not accept that offer.

“The agreement has been working for years and should only run one month longer. Sign up and we will sit on the plane immediately. We are ready and we will play.”

Denmark, who reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia this summer and are ninth in the FIFA rankings, have been beset by internal problems over the past 12 months.

The national women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier against Sweden in October 2017 in a dispute over employment conditions.

Sweden were awarded a 3-0 win and UEFA fined the DBU £18,000.

The DBU was also warned that Denmark would be barred from UEFA tournaments if it cancelled another match in the next four years.

So failing to play Wales on Sunday would almost certainly see Denmark expelled from the 2020 European Championship.

DBU chief executive Claus Bretton-Meyer said on Monday that the Wales game would go ahead, but he branded the dispute “regrettable” with the two parties holding 26 meetings on the issue in 2018.

Age Hareide has been replaced by John Jensen for Denmark's next two games.

Age Hareide has been replaced by John Jensen for Denmark’s next two games.

Eriksen added: “We could all be home in our clubs who pay our wages – at home by our wives and children.

“There is only one reason why we are here – and it’s not money.

“We are here because we love to play for Denmark – and proud of the many millions we play for children and the breadth of Danish football, and the work we do for the whole of Danish football.

“For example, making up for DBUs events and for their sponsors, as we have always done.”

DBU elite manager Kim Hallberg said: “We must hold the two international matches to avoid millions of fines and possible exclusion of the national team for several years.

“On behalf of DBU and Danish football, I am pleased that John Faxe Jensen has taken the hard task of being coach in both matches.”

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Ex-Arsenal midfielder John Jensen to lead Denmark amid row over players' commercial rights

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Age Hareide has been replaced by John Jensen for Denmark's next two games.

Former Arsenal midfielder John Jensen has been named as the Denmark manager for their UEFA Nations League opener against Wales after the row which has rocked Danish football took an extraordinary twist.

Denmark’s preparations for their game in Aarhus on Sunday are in turmoil after an extraordinary row over the players’ commercial rights.

The Danish Football Association (DBU) is set to field a team made up of domestic first and second division players in Denmark, rather than stars like Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen and Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Denmark are playing Slovakia in a friendly on Wednesday and DBU director Claus Bretton-Meyer told the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) that they have selected a squad drawn from the first and second divisions of the domestic league.

It has also been reported in Denmark that members of the national futsal squad, an indoor five-a-side game played with a smaller and harder ball, will feature in the squad.

The DBU confirmed that the 53-year-old Jensen will be in charge of the Slovakia and Wales games rather than national-team coach Age Hareide.

“Where we are now, I see only losers in the conflict, and Danish football loses most of all,” Jensen told the official DBU website.

“When I say yes to help here, it’s because I feel very, very strong for the national team as an institution, and because I think the most important thing must be that the games will be played after all.”

Jensen, who is noted for scoring in Denmark’s Euro 1992 final victory against Germany, spent eight months coaching in the Premier League at Blackburn in 2011.

He went on to become a consultant at Brondby and spent fours years in charge of Danish club Fremad Amager between 2014 and 2018.

“I do not consider the matter between DBU and the players, my yes is not an expression of it,” Jensen said. “I just hope to help us get through the two matches and that the parties find a solution as soon as possible.

“The national team has meant infinitely much to me in my career and in my life.

“It hurts to follow this course, and I hope my contribution can help mitigate the negative consequences.”

Denmark, who reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia this summer and are ninth in the FIFA rankings, have been beset by internal problems over the past 12 months.

The national women’s team boycotted a World Cup qualifier against Sweden in October 2017 in a dispute over employment conditions.

Sweden were awarded a 3-0 win and UEFA fined the DBU £18,000, and also warned that Denmark would be barred from UEFA tournaments if it cancelled another match in the next four years.

So failing to play Wales would almost certainly see Denmark expelled from the 2020 European Championship.

DBU elite manager Kim Hallberg said: “We must hold teams in the two international matches to avoid millions of fines and possible exclusion of the national team for several years.

“On behalf of DBU and Danish football, I am pleased that John Faxe Jensen has taken the hard task of being coach in both matches.”

Tottenham midfielder Eriksen had earlier called for a truce in the row and said Denmark’s players were willing to play the two games under the terms of the old commercial rights agreement.

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Alvaro Morata considered leaving Chelsea after "a disaster" of a debut season

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Morata has called his debut season in England "a disaster".

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata considered leaving the club this summer after calling his first season in English football “a disaster”.

The 25-year-old, who joined the Blues from Real Madrid last year, enjoyed a flying start to life at Stamford Bridge, but could not build on it and found himself out of the side.

He scored just three times in 23 games in the second half of the season and missed out on Spain’s World Cup squad as a result.

And Morata, who has earned a recall for his country’s UEFA Nations League games against England and Croatia, thought about leaving the Premier League club in favour of a return home or a move to Italy.

“I thought about playing again in Spain or Italy, of course I thought it would have been happy, but you cannot always escape from reality,” he told the Spanish press.

“It was a disaster last year, I did not know where I was, I was not happy.

Julen Lopetegui was sacked by Spain on the eve of the World Cup.

Julen Lopetegui was sacked by Spain on the eve of the World Cup.

“Not going to the World Cup was hard for me. I did not have the best season and the coach made the decision.

“I signed for Chelsea to be there and I was not, although that ultimately made me motivated.

“I do not hold a grudge against (former Spain coach Julen) Lopetegui, I’ve lived a lot of nice things with him too, it was his opinion and I did not do my best season either.

“But I do not hold a grudge against anyone, I wish him all the best and more now that he is at Real Madrid.”

Morata, who has won 23 caps, admitted he took his international career for granted and was left heartbroken by missing out in Russia this summer.

He added: “I experienced it, it was a very hard moment that has already happened and it’s not worth looking at the past, I’m going to do everything I can to go to the next one, it was a difficult moment because I thought I was going to go.

“When you start playing football and watch the World Cups on TV, it’s your biggest dream to play it with your country, I had a very bad time, I wanted my team-mates to win it but of course I wanted to be there and it was a very difficult moment.

“There are times I have stopped valuing coming here, you do not think about it until you see the national team matches from your home and you know that it is the greatest thing to be with Spain, I hope to come for all the games.”

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