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Born in the heart of Copenhagen to an American father and a Danish mother, Thomas Delaney, a guy without history very popular in Scandinavia, is about to play his second World Cup. Portrait of a guy who wears both the cap of the most Danish and that of the least Danish of the Danes.

Don’t look for a more international Dane than Thomas Delaney. Coming from an American father, from whom he inherited the name, Thomas Delaney, pillar of the Scandinavian selection, was born in Frederiksberg, a landlocked municipality in the heart of Copenhagen. Thus, the midfielder has made his classes not far from there, at Parken, where FC Copenhagen resides. Even where the binational has become the icon of FCK and even of the country. “He is very well perceived in Denmarknotes Frederik Gernigon, journalist for the Danish daily BT. He is a very friendly player with his teammates and journalists, very open. He’s not a guy who shows off or who distances himself a lot from the public. It is often very affordable. He’s a simple guy, who won’t make waves in the group if he doesn’t play. »

“He comes from FC Copenhagen, he embodies this team a lot, he was the captain. There are rumors that he’s coming back, and he says so too. » Frederik Gernigon

Moreover, Thomas Delaney no longer plays with Sevilla, the club that has been his for a year and a half, now led by the whimsical Argentinian Jorge Sampaoli. Only one tenure since October: this is the meager statistical record of the Danish torchbearer since the former OM technician took office. It is rumored that at 31, the child from Frederiksberg is about to return to the shores of the Baltic. “He comes from FC Copenhagen, he embodies this team a lot, he was the captain. There are rumors that he’s coming back, and he says so too. He is in a phase where he is trying to take advantage of his last big contract abroad. details Gernigon.

A model teammate

The Belgian Ariël Jacobs, who was his coach in the Danish capital (2012-2013), the time to add a SuperLiga to his record, has nothing negative to say about the attitude of his former player, of whom he does not ‘ve never stopped following the evolution since their paths parted almost ten years ago. “When I arrived at FC Copenhagen, Thomas had a knee injury, he played again three months after the injury. He was almost a rookie, and in his demeanor there was a lot of envy. He knew that he would have to fight to find his place, that he was not leaving as a starter, but he is not the kind of player to spoil a locker room with his moods. »

“He’s typically the kind of player you enjoy working with every day. He’s friendly, very well-mannered, and his mentality is beyond reproach. » Ariel Jacobs

The former Anderlecht coach had exiled him to the left side of his midfield, since the axis was already squatted by the duo Claudemir-Kristensen. Delaney, a good professional not adept at clashes, had quickly adapted. “He’s typically the kind of player you enjoy working with every day. He’s friendly, very well-mannered, and his mentality is beyond reproach. » Incidentally, the midfielder of the Danish Dynamite is also a good teammate, a leader without being a barker and always at ease in his new environment, like at Werder Bremen (2017-2018), during his first experience abroad. “I quickly saw him reading books in German, to learn the language. Thomas is a smart guy, not necessarily the one who will spend his days messing around, but who knows how to blend in with the atmosphere » intervenes the former Senegalese defender Lamine Sané.

“After Denmark, he could have gone to England, because he speaks fluent English, but he insisted on going to Germany, in a less publicized championship, but of an excellent level, where many Scandinavian players knew how to impose themselves. . » Ariel Jacobs

Versatility above all

But if Thomas Delaney seems to be almost unanimously appreciated, it is not only because he is the type to hold the door for grandmothers at the bakery and pay his condo fees a day after receiving the pain. No, the one who weighs 70 caps with Denmark and won at FC Copenhagen, Werder Bremen, then Borussia Dortmund for three years (2018-2021) is also a very good footballer, one of those whose whole importance when he is there, but also when he is absent. That good old Sampaoli, whose team is dragging itself to an unworthy 18e place in La Liga, could perhaps watch some videos of his Dane in selection or at Borussia, even if his 2019-2020 season, wrecked by multiple injuries (ankle, knee, hamstrings) had seen him miss 26 games. “What is appreciable about him is his slaughter. He has a lot of energy, sometimes too much, because it had to be channeled. Technically, I find it skillful, much more than some would like to say. And he has real versatility. I used him as a left midfielder, but also a left back, and he did the job, pretty well by the way.” continues Jacobs, who believes that Delaney has made the right career choices. “After Denmark, he could have gone to England, because he speaks fluent English, but he insisted on going to Germany, in a less publicized championship, but of an excellent level, where many Scandinavian players knew how to impose themselves. . »
An opinion shared by Sané, now an educator in Lormont, near Bordeaux. “Overall, he has imposed himself everywhere, even if it is a little more difficult this season. He is really the type of player who is very useful in a collective, who works a lot, and whom I even saw score three goals with his head during a victory for Werder in Freiburg (5-2, the 1er April 2017) » a performance that Delaney would repeat in September of the same year, during a victory for Denmark against Armenia (4-1) in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. “Personally, I find that he is a player who is not recognized at his fair value, but it is time, because he is still very consistent. »

Højbjerg-Delaney, complementary pair

Before returning to Scandinavia, Thomas Delaney must therefore stop in Qatar, where his Denmark will try to consolidate its image of a climbing nation interviewed since the Euro. In selection precisely, his profile contrasts with that of the player of Tottenham Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, his partner in the midfield, harder on the man, more expansive. “Højbjerg is still a name that sounds more international than Delaney. He also has a completely different aura: he is more expressive on the pitch, he shouts more, he takes on more responsibility, he touches more balls. But it’s a pair that’s quite complementary.” analyzes Frederik Gernigon.

“He is someone who stands out for his ability to work a lot without the ball. He’s not bad with it, but he’s not a technically exceptional player either. » Frederik Gernigon

One, Højbjerg, shines more in the use of the ball, while the other, Delaney, does the dirty work without inflating it. “He is someone who stands out for his ability to work a lot without the ball. He’s not bad with it, but he’s not a technically exceptional player either. He brings a different dimension with his left foot, but it is Højbjerg who will break the lines more and play forward. It is also he who made the pass for Cornelius against France in June. Delaney almost never will. » And analysts of Didier Deschamps also remember that it was he who offered Andreas Skov Olsen the second Danish goal against his Blues on September 25 in Copenhagen in the League of Nations (2-0). Wouldn’t that little trickster Delaney choose his victims, just in case?

By Clément Barbier and Alexis Billebault
All comments collected by CB and AB

Source: www.sofoot.com

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