Former Burnley keeper Brian Jensen hoping to claim family bragging rights after England v Denmark Euro 2020 semi-final!

Former Clarets keeper Brian Jensen admits his family will be torn this evening as England take on Denmark in the semi-final of Euro 2020 at Wembley.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 10:45 am
Brian Jensen
Brian Jensen

Jensen, now coaching at Shrewsbury under his old Burnley boss Steve Cotterill, was born and grew up in the Nørrebro quarter of the Danish capital Copenhagen, and, surprise, surprise, wants his homeland to win.

However, wife Maria is half Danish-half English, while sons Jamie and Sebastian were both born in England during his decade at Turf Moor.

Eldest son Jamie wants Denmark to go through, but Sebastian, a goalkeeper like his father, on Everton's books, has been capped by England at Under 15 level, and will be cheering the Three Lions on!

Jensen senior didn't win a senior Denmark cap, making the standby list for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 after a season as ever-present in the Premier League with the Clarets, and he said: "You'd be surprised to hear I actually want Denmark to win!

"My wife is half Danish half English so it is win-win for her.

"My two boys...Sebastian has been playing for England (Under 15s) and Jamie wants Denmark to win!

"We'll sit down locally and watch the game and see what happens.

"The missus is coming straight from work, but I'm in first thing Thursday so I'll have to take it easy!

"Seb was with England three, four weeks ago and is going strong.

"His heart is with England at the moment, he feels more English than Danish as he was born and brought up here, the only thing is that we speak Danish.

"After the last get-together with England, I did contact someone who knew the Danish association, and they said they would give me a call, but we've not heard anything.

"He's been with England for the last year, but we'll wait and see, he doesn't have to make that decision until he's 18.

"What is bizarre though, if your boys are born between 2002 and 2006, his grandparents are British, mum is half-English, but we still can't get an English passport for him!

"We've been to the immigration office, been through the whole process - we have settlement status, but he will need an English passport to play for England further down the line.

"But they don't seem to want to give him one, don't ask me why. He was born here, lives over here, his grandparents are British, mum half-English.

"We spoke to the FA, the local MP, loads of people, Everton, but there's nothing at the moment, and it's cost us an absolute fortune.

"The papers look really good, so fingers crossed, but he feels more English - he's never been to Denmark really."

Regardless of whoever gets the Jensen family bragging rights, the man known as "The Beast" is thrilled with the way his nation have rallied after the most shocking moment of the tournament, when Inter Milan star Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during the opening group game against Finland.

Denmark had to return later that evening to complete the game, with their friend in hospital, and lost 1-0, and Jensen felt UEFA didn't cover themselves in glory: "I've spoken to Kasper (Schmeichel) via text a couple of times, and all the stuff regarding UEFA...it doesn't make any sense - a team gets covid you get 48 hours to get tested and make sure you can play a game, but something as unfortunate and terrible as what happened to Christian - why couldn't they give them 48 hours?

"They had to go back that evening or noon the following day, and they didn't have a choice.

"UEFA keep saying they had a choice, but they didn't.

"We aren't trying to hide behind what happened, but have a little bit of common sense!

"The lads were distraught, their best mate lying there, and the family coming down from the stand, his partner absolutely devastated.

"The lads couldn't play.

"But with their backs against the wall, it just shows the togetherness they have.

"The manager Kasper Hjulmand is an old teammate of mine from many years ago at B.93, before I came over here - his philosophy...he's a humble man and a very strong character, but not one who walks around hyping people up or making excuses.

"For the boys to go through what they did, and to qualify, it just shows the character they have.

"Now they want to do it for Christian, but for themselves and the country as well."

Denmark also lost their second group game to Belgium, but qualified after an emotional night against Russia in Copenhagen, and have gone on to beat Wales and the Czech Republic.

Jensen feels they could stun England, as they did in the Nations League last year, and, famously, in September 1983, when Allan Simonsen scored from the spot to beat Bobby Robson's side and deny them a place at Euro 84: "It's going to be tough against England obviously, they might have been playing a little negative footballand not conceded a goal, but the thing that stands out to me is the squad is really, really strong.

"Gareth has rotated really well because he has so many strong players, where Denmark are a little bit down to bare bones.

"I have belief because anything can happen in a tournament, and we can cause an upset, but we need England to have a little bit of an off-day, and us to play really well for 90 minutes or longer.

"We are underdogs, but you never know what can happen.

"In 92 we didn't even qualify and went on to win it, Greece in 2004...

"We beat Holland and Germany in 92, I was 17, riding on the bonnet of a car all the way into the town centre!

"When it comes to tournament football, there has been many surprises, a lot of big teams have gone out, and we just need to make sure we go into the game in a positive frame of mind, work as hard as we can..

"But we are capable of causing an upset.

"It will be tough, but you never know.

"For us to qualify after losing to Finland after what happened, it just shows how strong they are and the togetherness.

"They are going to fight all the way and hopefully have that bit of luck.

"We have a great team, but it's just the depth of the squad really.

"And we have lost our playmaker...

"But we didn't concede in the Nations League, and Christian got the winner with a penalty at Wembley, just like Allan Simonsen before Euro 84.

"You just never know..."