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Denmark to try Andreas Christensen in midfield, reveals manager

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Coming after an outing as a fullback in their WC qualifier playoff

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Andreas Christensen may have a lock on the Chelsea middle centre-back position, but he’s having trouble cracking his national team’s backline. The Danes typically play four across the back with the two centre-back positions belonging to Andreas Bjelland, who plies his trade at Brentford, and Sevilla’s Simon Kjær.

National team manager Åge Hareide is loathe to break-up a pairing that saw his team beat Republic of Ireland in a two-leg play-off to reach the World Cup this summer, and yet he can’t ignore Christensen’s obvious talent. So he’s been experimenting with ways to fit him into the team.

Republic of Ireland v Denmark - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Play-Off: Second Leg Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

After Denmark drew 0-0 in the home leg of the play-off in November, with Christensen buried on the bench, Hareide decided to change things up in Dublin by trying Christensen at left back. Denmark won the game handily, 5-1, with Christensen scoring the opening goal.

Encouraged, Hareide is going to experiment again in the March friendlies. This time he plans to field the Chelsea man as a defensive midfielder.

“We will definitely try him off at the defensive midfield in the two games we have now, because we have to have more options than William Kvist to the position.”

-Åge Hareide; source DR (via Google Translate)

We’ve seen at Chelsea that Christensen is comfortable on the ball and more than willing to bring it forward. Hareide saw the same qualities when he first brought him into the team in 2016 and Denmark played a three-man backline.

“In my first international match against Iceland and Scotland, he played in the center defense in a 3-5-2 formation, where he was allowed to search the space between the midfield and the defense.”

If one man comes in, another man must go out. Right now that man is Southampton’s defensive midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

There’s a little bit of a bonus here for Chelsea too, beyond the honor of having Christensen represent his country again. The matches against Panama and Chile are both in Denmark, and so Andreas won’t come back weary from a lot of international travel.

Good luck on the experiment, young’un!