Greatest Danish XI in Eredivisie history
European football has always benefitted from having so many nations sharing borders. It allows footballers to explore new leagues without too much of a culture shock. A great example of this is the number of Danish stars that have appeared in Dutch football over the years. Some of Denmark’s greatest talents have made a name for themselves in Eredivisie setting them up to join some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Down the years, 166 Danish footballers have completed in the Dutch top flight with several big names being hugely successful during their time in The Netherlands. So who finds themselves in a Danish Eredivisie XI?
GK: Jorgen Henriksen (FC Utrecht)
When FC Utrecht formed in 1970, they needed a core of international stars to keep them within Eredivisie. One of their major foreign imports was Jorgen Henriksen who was at the club from 1970-1976. Henriksen was a pillar of consistency for Utrecht regularly putting in top performances week after week to help them avoid relegation. Having some of Henriksen’s quality underlined just how much survival meant to the club and helped them build to become a stalwart of the league to this very day.
RB: Simon Poulsen (AZ, PSV)
A versatile player, Simon Poulsen could be positioned anywhere within the defensive half of the pitch. Poulsen’s pace made him a handy full-back and he was deployed on both the right and left flank during his storied career. Poulsen is best associated with AZ Alkmaar where he spent 6 seasons over two spells. His first was the most prevalent after joining from FC Midtjylland in 2008. He was a regular in the squad that won the 2008-09 Eredivisie title and Poulsen remained a regular with the side for the next few seasons. After leaving to join Sampdoria in 2012, Poulsen returned to AZ in 2014 seeking regular football. He got that with AZ earning a big move to PSV in 2015. Despite winning the 2015-16 Eredivisie title with PSV, he only made a handful of appearances in Eindhoven. He eventually left in 2017 to return to Denmark with SonderjyskE before retiring in 2018.
LB: Jan Heintze (PSV)
Considered one of the best left backs of his generation, Jan Heintze was a player with no real weaknesses. An excellent tackler with accurate passes and endless stamina, Heintze was always a player fans could rely on to get things done. He proved this particularly with a glittering career with PSV Eindhoven. First joining the club in 1982, he became a mainstay on the left-hand side of defence and was present at all of PSV’s major achievement. This includes a stunning treble in the 1987/88 season where they won the Eredivisie, Dutch Cup and European Cup trophies. Heintze left in 1994 to feature in German football but rejoined PSV in 1999. More success followed in his second spell winning three more Eredivisie titles with the club. Overall, Heintze won 9 Eredivisie titles during his times with PSV making him one of their most decorated players of all time.
CB: Kasper Bogelund (PSV)
Capable of playing as a full back or in the centre of defence, Kasper Bogelund came through PSV’s youth system. The result of this was a tenacious defender who had a wealth of technical skills to call upon. Slowly imposing himself within the squad, Bogelund became a regular for PSV during much of the early 2000s. His run in the squad saw him win two Eredivisie titles as well as complete a domestic cup double during the 2004/05 season. After this success, Bogelund left Holland to join German side Borussia Monchengladbach.
CB: Ole Tobiasen (Heerenveen, Ajax, AZ)
For Ole Tobiasen, his move to Heerenveen from FC Copenhagen was the start of a career-long love affair with Dutch football. During his time with Heerenveen, Tobiasen established himself as an excellent tackler that could stop some of the best players in the world. This hot form saw him swiftly move to Ajax in 1997. Although much of Tobiasen’s time with Ajax was blighted by injuries, he put together some excellent form in the late 1990s to feature in a squad that won the last two Eredivisie titles of the 20th century. A move to AZ Alkmaar in 2002 was disrupted once more by injury and he returned to Denmark for much of the 2000s. After a spell in the lower leagues of Holland to end his career, Tobiasen moved into coaching where he now features as a coach for his former club Heerenveen.
CM: Frank Arnesen (Ajax, PSV)
On his pathway to becoming a tactical mastermind off the field, Frank Arnesen showcased himself to be one of the top midfielders of his day. Always lining up attacks and converting chances with ease, Arnesen was a key member of Ajax’s golden squad of the 1970s. He proved this by being a regular member of an Ajax squad that won three Eredivisie titles in the late 1970s. After spells overseas with Valencia and Anderlecht, Arnesen returned to The Netherlands to be the veteran midfield anchor for PSV during the late 1980s. He did this and was part of a PSV side that won several Eredivisie titles as well as the 1988 European Cup over a 3-year spell. After the European Cup success, Arnesen retired leaving a glittering career that has since seen him inaugurated into the Danish Football Hall of Fame.
CM: Soren Lerby (Ajax, PSV)
There were few cult characters quite like Soren Lerby. Lerby was a gifted technician who had one of the best left foots in Europe throughout the 1980s. However, he also played without shinpads and with rolled down socks giving him a unique presence on the pitch. It was a presence that reaped rewards though as he was hugely successful with both Ajax and PSV. This included winning a total of 7 Eredivisie titles over his career as well as 3 Dutch Cup trophies. He was also a part of the PSV squad that won the 1988 European Cup underlining his presence as one of the greats of his time. With such a storied career that also included stints with Bayern Munich and Monaco, Lerby is also an exclusive member of the Danish Football Hall of Fame.
CM: Lasse Schone (De Graafschap, NEC, Ajax, Heerenveen)
There have been few players in the 2000s that have been such a creative force in Eredivisie quite like Lasse Schone. Capable of making excellent passes and orchestrating critical set pieces, Schone can unlock a defence from anywhere on the pitch. Having come through Heerenveen’s youth system in the mid-2000s, Schone got a major break with lower league sides such as De Graafschap and NEC. However, a move to Ajax in 2012 elevated him to one of the top midfielders in Europe. During his time with Ajax, Schone carved opened defences including a 10 goal season in the 2017-18 season. With Ajax, he won three Eredivisie titles during a 7-year spell. On top of that, Schone was nominated in 3 Eredivisie Team of the Year squads as well as named Ajax Player of the Year in the 2013-14 season. Schone has continued to shine with former clubs such as NEC to this day underlining his excellent career throughout Dutch football.
FW: Dennis Rommedahl (PSV, RKC, Ajax, NEC)
Few players could burst into life on the wing like Dennis Rommedahl. Naturally a right-sided player, Rommedahl could burst down the touchline to start quick attacks as well as finish them off with ease. His best run of form came with PSV who he joined from Lyngby in 1997. Over the next seven seasons, Rommedahl helped PSV to 4 Eredivisie titles scoring 29 goals in the process. His run with PSV ended in a move to England in 2004 with Charlton Athletic. Rommedahl returned to Eredivisie three years later however this was with Ajax instead. With Ajax, Rommedahl won the 2010 Dutch Cup in a season where was also nominated in Danish Football XI of the year. He would eventually leave in 2010 to join Olympiakos drawing a line on a very successful time in Dutch football.
FW: Christian Eriksen (Ajax)
Ajax have always been able to bring up quality Danish players through their academy but few have been as impact as Christian Eriksen. Eriksen’s excellent ability to burst forward, play sublime passes and score spectacular goals made him a superstar for Ajax to build upon. Once Eriksen became a regular for Ajax, he regularly helped them win match after match including three Eredivisie titles. This was underlined by a ten-goal season in 2012-13 helping Ajax to their third title with Eriksen in their squad. This rich vein of form saw Eriksen win plenty of awards including the 2011 Johan Cruyff trophy as well as 2 Danish Talent of the Year awards in 2011 and 2012. Eriksen also won the first of his five Danish Player of the Year awards in 2013 before leaving to join English side Tottenham in 2014. A hugely successful rise to stardom for one of Denmark’s top footballing stars.
FW: Jon Dahl Tomasson – (Heerenveen, Feyenoord)
Throughout his career, Jon Dahl Tomasson journeyed through Europe’s elite leagues but it was in The Netherlands where he had most success. A clinical finisher, Tomasson could easily find space in the area and never waste a chance when bearing down on goal. It was with Hereenveen where Tomasson broke through scoring 32 goals in two seasons with the club. After a brief spell in England, Tomasson returned to The Netherlands to begin a fantastic association with Feyenoord. During a first run with Feyenoord, Tomasson always hit double figure goal tallies helping the Rotterdam side win the 1998-1999 Eredivisie title and the 2002 UEFA Cup trophy. This form was underlined by Tomasson being named 2002 Danish Footballer of the Year for his efforts. A second spell with Feyenoord in the late 2000s continued to bring success where he was the club’s top scorer with 11 goals in the 2009-10 season. It was an excellent finale for Tomasson who retired at the end of that season. With 112 goals in Eredivisie, Tomasson is the most successful attacking Danish player in Dutch football history and a record that remains to this day.