High praise indeed from Åge Hareide, the new head coach of the Danish national team. Thursday's 2-1 win over Iceland was Hareide's first match in charge, and Denmark's first win in seven tries. And at the heart of the new-look team's defense was none other than teenage Chelsea loan-star Andreas Christensen.
To say that Hareide was full of praise for the 19-year-old may be an understatement.
"He reminds me of Franz Beckenbauer — he still has work to do to reach him — in his playing style, because he's really relaxed and elegant. It almost looks like he could be playing in a suit. Yesterday [vs Iceland] he did fantastic. He went in to the game with the calmness that was needed, he was strong in duels, and anticipatory. He has the whole package, and he's humble and listens, so I am well impressed by him."
"He has a fantastic football future ahead of him. Actually, he has a difficult role [on the NT team], because it probably takes even more experience than he has, but he still solves the assignment in an excellent way. He has to lay deep between Simon Kjær and Daniel Agger when we defend, and then he has to go up in midfield and be a defending midfielder, when we attack. It takes both intelligence and courage to solve it, but he solves it nicely."
Being compared to one of the greatest players who has ever lived, and perhaps the greatest modern-day, ball-playing defender who has ever played the game, is not a bad way to make your full international debut. With rumors starting to bubble up about Chelsea perhaps cutting short Christensen's two-year loan at Gladbach, we could be witnessing the young man's mature game first-hand at the Bridge sooner rather than later.