When Mathias Jensen came off the substitute’s bench to play for Denmark last night, he joined a very select club of Brentford players. Since The Bees entered the EFL more than a century ago, more than 1,000 players have appeared in our colours. Mathias is now one of only six to have earned ten or more international caps while with The Bees.
Mathias, and fellow Brentford midfield player Christian Nørgaard, came on to help Denmark to a 4-0 win over Wales in a UEFA European Championships Second Round match. Mathias set up the third goal and Denmark are now in the Quarter Finals of the delayed Euro 2020. Mathias has played all four games in the tournament and has taken his tally to ten Denmark caps, which puts him in a very select group.
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. Dai is the first of our ten cap men and 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, the second to get to ten caps.
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 with Hermann Hreiðarsson earning 12 of his 89 Iceland caps while with The Bees. Hermann was the third to reach ten caps while with Brentford and the other two have come in the past few years. 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, 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.
Kamohelo is currently the only Brentford player to have appeared in the Quarter Final of a tournament. His South Africa team were beaten by Nigeria in the last eight of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. No Brentford player has ever appeared in an international Semi-Final. Mathias and Christian can break new ground in the coming days while Pontus Jansson and Sweden are also still involved in Euro 2020, playing Ukraine in the last-16 on Tuesday, 29 June.