When Mathias Jensen came off the substitute’s bench to play for Denmark earlier this week, he reached another milestone. Mathias played for his country in their UEFA European Championships Semi-Final on Wednesday, 7 July. Denmark were beaten by England at Wembley after extra time and Mathias earned his 12th cap in the contest. Since The Bees entered the EFL more than a century ago, more than 1,000 players have appeared in our colours and now only three have played more international games while on Brentford’s books.
Mathias, and fellow Brentford midfield player Christian Nørgaard, played a vital role for Denmark in the delayed Euro 2020. Mathias played a part in all six of Denmark’s games as they reached the last four. Christian also played five games and took his personal tally to nine caps. But Mathias’ 12 put him in even more elite company.
Mathias was unable to complete the game on Wednesday as he suffered an injury in extra time. The Danish FA reported, in a Tweet yesterday that can be seen below, that this was a foot injury that needed stitching. Mathias is due to report back for pre-season training closer to the start of the season.
Brentford players have been involved in international football for longer than The Bees have been a Football League side. Brentford’s first international was Joe Connor, who played twice for the Ireland national football team, which represented the island of Ireland from 1882 until 1950, in 1903. Tommy Shanks also represented Ireland in 1905 and it was then almost 30 years until Dai Hopkins became Brentford’s third international, representing Wales.
Dai scored twice in 12 appearances for Wales between 1934 and 1939. No Brentford player since has found the net twice for their country. That will, surely, be the next Club Record to be broken.
Brentford played in the upper echelons of the First Division in the late 1930s and nine players won international honours, including the Club’s only two England internationals to date – Billy Scott and Leslie Smith. Only Dai Hopkins made a real impact while on Brentford’s books, with his 12 caps remaining a Club Record for more than 50 years. That was broken by Malta international John Buttigieg.
John signed for Brentford in November 1988. He spent just under three years with The Bees, leaving at the end of the 1990/91 season. In that period, John made 20 international appearances. His 97 games for his country leaves him eighth on Malta’s most capped player list.
Brentford players were selected for their countries throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but no-one earned more than 12 caps until Henrik Dalsgaard and Kamohelo Mokotjo. Both joined Brentford in 2017 and were part of their international squads while with The Bees. Henrik earned 22 of his 26 Denmark caps while with The Bees, which makes him the Club’s most capped player. He was the first Brentford player to appear in a World Cup, helping Denmark reach the last 16 in Russia in 2018.
Kamohelo played 15 times for South Africa while with Brentford, which puts him third on our most capped list. He, along with Julian Jeanvier for Guinea, played in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He is one of only a few Brentford players, a list that also included Mathias, Christian, Henrik, Marcus Forss and Halil Dervişoğlu, to have appeared in an international tournament.
Henrik, John and Kamohelo are the only three Brentford players to have more caps while at the Club than Mathias. Denmark are back in action in September when they continue the qualification process for the FIFA World Cup 2022. That tournament could see more Brentford representation, following in the footsteps of those named above.