Kasper Schmeichel lifts lid on trying time for Denmark that included fielding amateur players
Kasper Schmeichel has owned up to a “difficult week” for Danish football that almost saw Denmark field a team of part-time players against Wales in the UEFA Nations League.
Denmark fielded lower league and futsal players in the 3-0 friendly defeat to Slovakia on Wednesday following a dispute over the players’ commercial rights.
The row was eventually settled on Thursday, allowing Denmark to recall the likes of Leicester goalkeeper Schmeichel and Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen for Sunday’s game against Wales in Aarhus.
“I think for us it’s about winning the game and playing well,” Schmeichel said at Denmark’s pre-match press conference.
“I am sure everyone will get behind us. It’s been a difficult week, but that’s life.
“It’s just about getting on with it now and we will be ready.”
The Danish trio presented at the pre-match press conference – manager Age Hareide, captain Simon Kjaer and Schmeichel – were reluctant to talk about the affair which had turned Denmark into the laughing stock of international football.
But Hareide said the episode meant his squad, which reached the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia and are ranked ninth by FIFA, had been limited to only two training sessions before the Wales game.
“It is a little less than we normally have, but it’s OK,” Hareide said.
“There are players here who have been here for two years, so I am not too worried about that.
“All the players are fit and experienced. There are no worries about that. No excuses.”
Wales have had their own problems before the game after thrashing the Republic of Ireland 4-1 in their Nations League opener.
Ryan Giggs’ squad were delayed from leaving Cardiff Airport because of a technical fault with their plane and were not due to arrive in Aarhus until the early hours of Sunday morning.
But Schmeichel admits he has been impressed by Wales under new boss Giggs, a former Manchester United team-mate of his father Peter.
“Look at the last game and you can see the flair and spark that they play with,” he said.
“It’s very similar to the DNA he inherited at Manchester United and it will be very interesting to see what he can bring.
“He’s got a very talented squad with Wales. It is something that Gary Speed started, Chris Coleman worked really well, and now Ryan is putting his own stamp on it.
“Gareth Bale is obviously a world class player, but it would be disrespectful to focus on just him because Wales is full of very good players.”