Christian Eriksen looks set to return to Tottenham early in the wake of a huge commercial dispute between the Danish team and the country’s football association.
An incredible row has taken place over image rights, leading to an alternative XI being crafted from warehouse workers and futsal stars for the upcoming games against Slovakia and Wales.
It now appears that the country’s top players, including Eriksen and Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, will return early to their clubs, with broadcaster TV2 reporting that the players feel there is no point hanging around.
The DBU have an obligation to fulfil their upcoming Nations League fixtures, but with no manager or first-team squad they have had to draft in alternatives at late notice.
Regular manager Age Hareide, who led Denmark to the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup, has been relieved of his duties for both games on the premise that he has not picked this makeshift squad.
Former Arsenal midfielder John Jensen, 53, is ready to take his place in the dugout, with a number of lower division players and futsal stars waiting in the wings.
It is understood the country’s top players are now leaving their Copenhagen base to return to their clubs, despite them calling for an end to the dispute.
‘We have to solve this now, not just dig the ditches deeper,’ Tottenham’s Eriksen said.
‘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’ll have time to negotiate the agreement.
‘It does not make sense if DBU does not accept that offer. Sign up and we will sit on the plane immediately. We are ready and we will play.’
Eriksen added: ‘We could 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. It’s because we love to play for Denmark.’
Eriksen’s personal situation is also part of the conflict, as reported by Sport Witness and TV2.
It is understood the Spurs man is the part-owner of an energy drink firm, with his name and image being used to promote the brand. That is in conflict with Carlsberg, Denmark’s main sponsor, who also produce their own energy drink.
JOHN JENSEN C.V.
Playing position: Central midfielder
Clubs: Brondby, Hamburg, Arsenal, Herfolge
International: Denmark – 69 caps, 3 goals
Honours: European Championship 1992*, 8x Danish league, 1x FA Cup
Teams managed: Herfolge, Brondby (assistant), Getafe (assistant), Randers, Blackburn (assistant), Fremad Amager, Denmark (caretaker)
Managerial honours: 2x Danish league
*Scored first goal in the final, a 2-0 win against Germany.
Stand-in boss Jensen, who lifted Euro 92 as a player and won the FA Cup with Arsenal a year later, said: ‘I see only losers in the conflict, and Danish football losing most of all.
‘When I say yes to help here, it’s because I feel very strongly for the national team and because the most important thing must be that the games will be played after all.
‘I don’t consider the matter between DBU and the players. My “yes” is not an expression of it. I just hope to help us through two matches and that the parties find a solution.’
Kim Hallberg, the DBU elite manager, said: ‘We must hold the two matches to avoid millions of fines and possible exclusion of the national team for several years.’