When Christian Nørgaard and Mathias Jensen appeared for Denmark on Sunday evening, the were part of another Brentford FC milestone. Christian and Mathias both started for their countries in an 8-0 win over Moldova and Mathias got one of the goals on the night. But the pair also helped The Bees breach the 200-cap milestone.
Prior to the game on Sunday, the 46 players that had represented their countries while on the books at Brentford had earned 199 caps. Mathias and Christian took that total to 201 and it may increase further over the coming days. Ethan Pinnock’s appearance for Jamaica in a friendly game against United States of America made him the 46th Brentford player to play for his country and his was the 199th cap earned by The Bees, enabling the two Danes to take the Club past the landmark.
It has taken Brentford players more than a century to hit that landmark. 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. 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 and no Brentford player since has found the net twice for their country.
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 joint-seventh 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. Paul Evans was Brentford’s 20th international player when he played for Wales in 2002 and Ólafur Ingi Skúlason was number 25 when he represented Iceland in 2006. Andreas Bjelland was our 30th international player and earned seven of his 29 Denmark caps to date while with The Bees.
Andreas took us to the 30 mark in 2016 and 16 more Brentford players have earned international caps in the past five years. The 47th player could have been Saman Ghoddos, but he was unable to join up with Iran this month due to travel restrictions in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Saman’s caps for Iran and Sweden so far came before he officially signed for The Bees. And those 16 have written their name in to Brentford’s history.
Most notably, Henrik Dalsgaard has earned 22 of his 26 Denmark caps while with The Bees. That 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.
Mathias Jensen, Tariqe Fosu and Marcus Forss, as well as Henrik, have scored international goals in the past 18 months. Only 11 Brentford players have scored at international level and no-one has yet got to two goals, apart from Dai Hopkins. That will, surely, be the next Club Record to be broken.