Best Danish Football Players - Overlooked Scary Deep Talent Pool of Europe

Josip Brajkovic
Josip Brajkovic
Published: 17.4.2024.

Considering the population of Denmark is 5.8 million people, you’ll be astounded by the number of talented players representing the red flag with the white Nordic cross. With the Euros 1992 in their trophy cabinet, it was impossible not to include Denmark as one of the best big football but small population nations. But who are the best of the best the tiny northern land offers? Here are the 10 best Danish football players in 2024 who just might be THE dark horses of the upcoming tournament.

But it’s not just the EURO 1992 that Denmark has conquered, their golden generation also won the 1995 Confederations Cup. So the following men have more expectations on their backs than it seems from the outside.

Granted, Denmark might not have many world-class players, those amongst the top four or five in their positions. Hey, they might not have one, but the country is filled with elite players who are important members of their clubs. Most of them competing in the top five European leagues, or have vast experience in it.

Furthermore, the Danish national team is now mostly comprised of players who are on the right side of 30 by a comfortable margin.

Of course, as is the case with all our best players of a nation articles (including Denmark's opponents at the EUROs - England), we're taking into account their entire careers with the last few years holding a bigger weight.

#10 Rasmus Hojlund (Manchester United) - CF, 21

Rasmus Hojlund

If any player on this list of best Danish football players has the potential to be world-class it's certainly Rasmus Hojlund. Manchester United has bet €84,000,000 euros on it. Who, despite his young age, played in 122 club games for Copenhagen, Sturm Graz, Atalanta, and Manchester United. Picking up a cup win in Austria and a title in his home country.

While undoubtedly a talented player - the quality of his goals shows that - Hojlund has to improve the quantity of them a lot - scoring 13 in 35 for United. But the skills are there and Hojlund seems like a certain 20+ goals Premier League striker sooner rather than later. His record for Denmark shows it too, as he got to seven goals in 12 matches. The many strikers Danes fielded before his time got off to only around 10 finishes in four times the matches.

#9 Rasmus Kristensen (Roma on loan from Leeds) - RB, 26

Rasmus Kristensen

Despite being only 26, Rasmus Kristensen has changed six clubs already, starting in Midtjylland and getting a title before making a common move for talented Danes - straight to Ajax. This is where he won the Dutch title and Cup. Rasmus continued with the right career choices and joined up with another side known for improving young talents - Red Bull Salzburg. Enjoying the domination of Austria with three titles and three cups, playing 109 games, scoring 14 times and making 19 assists.

Leeds paid €13,000,000 in 2022 and the Dane moved to Roma on loan when LUFC fell down in tiers. Kristensen faced stark competition on the RB spot at the Denmark national team and has only 20 games so far. Yet he already has 275 club career games, with 26 goals and 44 assists!

#8 Joakim Maehle (Wolfsburg) - RB, 26

Joakim Maehle

An integral part of the Atalanta squad that made non-Bergamese follow the club, Joakim Maehle has quite the end product for club and country. For Denmark, the right-back scored 11 goals in 43 matches and recorded seven assists. For comparison, strikers Andreas Cornelius has 13 goals in 46 matches, Kasper Dolberg scored 11 in 45 games, and Martin Braithwaite scored 10 times in 69 games!

So the goalscoring RB also scored some in his games for Genk, Atalanta, Aalborg, and Wolfsburg - 15 times. But his assist number is also high for a right back who hasn't played for dominating teams - 37. So far, the full-back won the title and the super cup in Belgium.

#7 Yussuf Poulsen (RB Leipzig) - CF, 29

Yussuf Poulsen

Not the most enjoyable player to watch, not the one that will make you fall in love with football, not the one whose numbers are dazzling yet Yussuf Poulsen has made quite the career. Longevity and usefulness are his main strengths. Also, his actual strength. After a season with Lyngby, the tall centre-forward moved to RB Leipzig and rose up the ranks with the club from the third division.

Now, he has 90 goals and 66 assists in 394 matches. With 209 games, 47 goals and 27 assists coming in the Bundesliga. Poulsen has also won two German Cups with RB, and a German Supercup. As for Denmark, his record of 12 goals and 12 assists in 78 games encapsulates what kind of a player he is. While he is bound to get pushed out of the squad by Hojlund, as of now, he has certainly achieved more.

#6 Thomas Delaney (Anderlecht on loan from Sevilla) - CM, 32

Thomas Delaney

Thomas Delaney has had quite the career in his native Denmark, playing 246 games for Copenhagen, winning five titles and four cups, scoring 24 goals and making 17 assists. But he also ventured successfully into Europe's top five leagues, playing 113 games in the Bundesliga, 34 in La Liga, and now representing Anderlecht on loan. All in all enough for 456 club career games, 38 goals and 37 assists as a CM!

His best time was with Borussia and in 88 matches for BVB, he won a German Cup and a German Supercup trophy. Delaney makes a formidable duo with Hojbjerg and has played 76 games for Denmark, scoring eight times and making the same number of assists.

#5 Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Tottenham Hospur) - CM, 28

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

While he has fallen down the pecking order at Tottenham in the last season, not that long ago, in 2022, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was named Danish Player of the Year. The peculiar character that he is, Hojbjerg is someone most managers would love to have in the dressing room. Showing great calmness even though he was a young prodigy, getting picked up by Bayern Munich before he played a senior match.

Hojbjerg also became the 10th youngest goalscorer for Denmark, aged 19 years, one month and two days back in 2014. Getting little opportunities with the Bavarians, the midfielder went on loans to Augsburg and Schalke before making a permanent switch to Southampton where four seasons of PL football recommended him to Spurs. Hojbjerg has played 384 club games, making 28 assists. For Denmark, he has 18 goal involvements (8G/10A) in 75 caps.

#4 Kasper Schmeichel (Anderlecht) - GK, 37

Kasper Schmeichel

If Danish players always have to fill in the shoes of the golden 1992 generation, for Kasper Schmeichel the task was twice the size, and more personal. His father Peter is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers who ever put on gloves. But Kasper's career followed a much rockier road. Even though he started with the club his father represented later in his career - Manchester City. However, Kasper had to dive across League Two, Championship, and Scottish Premier League pitches before reaching the big show.

But reach it he did. In a major way. In 2011 Kasper joined Leicester City and in the 2015/2016 season, the Foxes made the biggest sporting upset of the 21st century by winning the Premier League. The now 37-year-old won the FA Cup and the Community Shield with the side he represented 479 times. Despite such servitude, he also had a bit of a nomadic career with 10 other clubs he represented. Starting his career in the 2005/2006 campaign, Kasper also showed great longevity in the sport and is certainly one of the Danes that will be remembered even by non-compatriots.

For Denmark, he made 100 appearances and is on the edge of the top 10 most-capped players in the history of Denmark. While also keeping his country’s net intact on 47 of these games! Kasper also won the Danish Player of the Year award three times, as much as his father did.

#3 Simon Kjaer (Milan) - CB, 35

Simon Kjaer

Overlooked and undercherished, but only by those he hasn’t represented. Luckily for the Danes, Simon Kjaer is the country’s highest-capped player of all time with 131 appearances!

Early in his life, Kjaer was touted as a centre-back who would have everything to be top class, yet like with Schmeichel junior, the road there wasn't a straight smooth one. Starting in Midtjylland before the club had the stature it has now, titless, and moving to Palermo. Germany called next, with a loan to Roma from Wolfsburg. But the nomadic CB ventured away, to Lille in France, then Fenerbahce. Making a rare return from the east back to the top five leagues with Sevilla his next destination. After two loans to Italy, Atalanta and Milan, the bigger Italian club made Kjaer their permanent man.

Now Kjaer has played most of his games for the Rossoneri, 120, followed by Fenerbahce (88), and Lille (79). Combined, he played 348 games in the top five leagues, only skipping England - even though that is the most common destination for Danish players, especially centre-backs. But Kjaer went his own way, winning one Serie A title, and becoming the country's player of the year twice with more than a decade in between (2009 and 2021). With the latter a result of a semis run in the 2020 Euro which was played in 2021, after he showed what a captain should look like. Beyond football.

#2 Andreas Christensen (Barcelona) - CB, 27

Andreas Christensen

Not your star of viral moments, or tabloid titles, hence Andreas Christensen’s level has gone underappreciated for years. But the Dane has 201 games in the top five leagues for Borussia Monchengladbach, Barcelona, and Chelsea. But it's his trophy haul where his strongest claim for being one of the two best Danish players lies. The 28-year-old won the League Cup, FA Cup, Europa League, UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup, and the Champions League with CFC! With a La Liga title in his first season with Barca!

The CB did struggle with smaller but common injuries from time to time and has "only" 310 games in his club career. While representing Denmark 69 times. Despite being a first-team player for Chelsea in those trophy runs, he won Denmark’s Best Player of the Year award only upon winning the Spanish Primera. Still, he has his place in the team cemented more than anyone else, the following player included.

#1 Christian Eriksen (Manchester United) - AM, 32

Christian Eriksen

It was unimaginable that Christian Eriksen would still be the country's best player in 2024 back in 2021 when he collapsed at the EUROs match after suffering a cardiac arrest. Yet, it is undeniably true. Not only has Eriksen continued playing, he certainly moved up in the footballing world, now representing Manchester United. Having recorded 15 goal involvements (3G/12A) in his 65 matches.

Prior to that, Eriksen was one the Premier League's best attacking midfielders, recording 305 games for Spurs, scoring 69 times and making 90 assists. Now, he's playing more of a central role. But the calm Dane managed to keep his goalscoring and goalcreating instinct regardless, best displayed with his Denmark record - 40 goals and 30 assists in 128 games!

Eriksen is the Danish second-highest-capped player with a waiting list for the number-one spot as he is only three games behind three years older Kjaer. He is the country's fifth-best scorer of all time despite not being a striker, with only four goals keeping him from a top-three placement. Eriksen was always a big hope for Denmark, as he is the sixth youngest NT debutant at 18 years and 17 days.

Representing THFC, Ajax, Man United, Brentford, and Inter Milan, the Dane played 610 club games, scoring 113 goals and making 174 assists. Winning three Denmark Player of the Year awards in succession (2013, 2014, 2015) and then in 2017 and 2018. In silverware Eriksen won the Eredivisie with Ajax three times, the Cup and the Dutch Supercup as well, Serie A with Inter, and a League Cup with United.


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