The Great Dane of Aggborough is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming England...
The Great Dane of Aggborough is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming England versus Denmark friendly...he's in the perfect position to assess the strengths of both sides...
Jan Molby recently returned to management at Kidderminster Harriers. And as one of Denmark's most celebrated football exports, the former Liverpool midfield maestro has some interesting views ahead of the November 16 international showdown at Old Trafford.
Molby said: "I am looking forward to the game. It is certainly a good friendly from Denmark's point of view. It will prepare us well for the European Championships in Portugal next summer. But obviously it will be difficult - playing England away is a big task for our players.
"Denmark have come on leaps and bounds in international football over the past 20 years. The first major tournament we qualified for was the European Championships in 1984, where we finished top of the qualifying group and England were second. I believe that is the only time we've beaten England and people in Denmark still talk about the 1-0 victory at Wembley.
"We have always produced good players and had some super sides in the 1980's. Then of course the team in 1992 won the European Championships. Considering the size of the country, I think we do exceptionally well.
"I have some great memories of playing for the national side. I made my debut in 1982 and was involved in a real roller coaster ride. The 1984 European Championships, 1986 World Cup, 1988 European Championships. They were fantastic times and we had a really good side. We generally felt in 1986 when we went to Mexico that we had a chance of winning the World Cup, but it wasn't to be."
Away from international duty with Denmark, Molby played his club football for Ajax Amsterdam, Liverpool and Swansea City. His best days were at Anfield where he made 250 appearances as the Reds won three League championships and three FA Cups.
He said: "I had 12 years at Liverpool after my two year stint at Ajax. I couldn't have asked for better times. The first six years at Anfield were extremely successful. We won plenty of domestic trophies and continued to be one of the best teams in Europe. Then in 1991, Kenny Dalglish left and it went a bit downhill and wasn't quite so successful. Nevertheless, it was still a great club to be at and we still had some great days."
Molby enjoyed his time on Merseyside so much that he picked up a Scouse accent along the way! People still notice his distinctive speech pattern.
"There's no hiding it! I am quite surprised how quick that it came about. It is obviously one of the things that people always associate me with - the fact that I speak more Scouse than most Scousers! But it is nothing that I am ashamed of. I'm proud of the fact that I played for Liverpool as they are one of the greatest clubs in the world and I had wonderful times there."
Bringing the story up to date, Molby returned to Kidderminster Harriers for his second spell as manager a couple of weeks ago. In his previous stint, he guided the Aggborough club to the Conference championship in 2000 and promotion to the Third Division. But it is tough going at the moment.
"I am pleased to be back in football and I am happy to return somewhere that I know how the mechanics of the football club operate. Hopefully things can work out as well for me second time around as they did first time. There is a big job to be done here. We are not second from bottom in the Third Division for nothing. So we have to start winning some games and hopefully climb the table.
"Football is very difficult at this level now. A lot of League clubs are having financial difficulties. But the board have steadied the ship at Kidderminster and everybody knows what guidelines they are working to.
"We need to get the right type of players in and have a little bit of luck. Certainly we can move away from the lower reaches of the Third Divison but how far we can go from there remains to be seen."
And back to England versus Denmark. Has Molby got any predictions for the game?
"It will be difficult for Denmark. If we have all our players available and we play our strongest X1, we can give England a very hard game. Our first choice side is very good, very strong and very difficult to play against.
"But if there are a lot of substitutions at half-time and in the second half, then I feel our back-up players are not quite as good as they don't have the experience at international level. I guess we will give some of the more inexperienced men a run-out and that might be the undoing. I just feel that England have more players of international standard than we have at the moment."
Jan Molby was talking to Tony Incenzo
Denmark: 33 caps, 2 goals