Sorensen - Denmark's safe pair of hands
Published : 19 May 2012 03:16:59Rss feed
Thomas Sorensen has proved that there is life after Peter Schmeichel, despite not having won as much silverware or played for as prestigious a club as the Danish goalkeeping great.
Nevertheless, the Stoke City number one has still reached a century of caps for Denmark, putting him in an elite club of international players who have built their careers on dependable consistency as well as longevity.
The proud moment of 100 caps came against Russia in March and Sorensen said the achievement was down to trying not to copy Manchester United's Schmeichel, who was a looming presence in goal and never afraid of reading his defenders the riot act.
By contrast, Sorensen is more discreet and calm, which makes him an authoritative and reassuring presence at the back.
"There's nothing greater than representing your country," said Sorensen, who has plied his trade with less fashionable Premier League clubs such as Sunderland, Aston Villa and latterly Stoke.
"I never would have guessed that I would make 100 appearances. When I took over from Peter Schmeichel I knew I had to do it my way. And I did. I couldn't be a copy of Peter, and I knew that," he told Uefa.com in an interview.
Veteran Denmark coach Morten Olsen, another of the eight Danish players to have appeared for their country more than 100 times, puts his goalkeeper's durability and class down to one quality.
"Consistency -- that's the one word that comes in mind," Olsen told Uefa.com.
"You don't even have to rate a player who has played 100 matches for his national team. That number speaks for itself.
"He has only made a few mistakes for us over the years and has sometimes been our saviour. I hope that people will remember that last thing, when they look back at his career."
It is remarkable that Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine will be Sorensen's fifth major championships, although he played second fiddle to Schmeichel at his first Euros in 2000.
Next month's tournament also comes less than four years after his career was nearly ended after a challenge by then Spurs defender Alan Hutton in October 2008.
"It was a millimetre off me losing my sight and it was miraculous there was no more damage," said Sorensen, who made his international debut in 1999.
It is unlikely, though, that for all his great service Sorensen will be rewarded with the European title.
And if there is one regret for the genial and generous goalkeeper -- younger players say he is happy to give them the benefit of his experience and bolster their morale -- it is the lack of winners' medals in his cabinet.
It's something that Sorensen is acutely aware of, having been part of the Stoke side that reached the 2011 FA Cup final, only to be beaten by Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley.
"I wanted it so bad and I don't know if this is going to be my only chance," he said. "Hopefully not, but you never know. That's why I had a few tears in my eyes at the end of the game."
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