Brentford striker Marcus Forss became the latest man to join a very select club of Bees over the weekend and joined another elite band for good measure. Since Brentford entered the EFL more than a century ago, more than 1,000 players have appeared in our colours. Marcus is now one of only eight to have earned ten or more international caps while with The Bees.
Marcus earned his tenth cap for Finland on Saturday, 13 November, against Bosnia and Herzegovina. He played a big role in a vital win for Finland. Marcus started the game up front and scored the opening goal of the game. In doing so he became only the third Brentford player to score more than one international goal – along with Wales international Dai Hopkins and Halil Dervişoğlu of Turkey, who holds the Club Record.
That goal came in the first half and Finland were reduced to ten men soon after. Marcus was taken off at the interval as Finland looked to secure the points. They did better than that, scoring twice after the break to take a 3-1 win. That victory leaves then second in Group D of the European qualification process. They face France tomorrow, Tuesday 16 November, and are still in with a chance of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be played in Qatar next winter.
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 the aforementioned Dai Hopkins became Brentford’s third international, representing Wales.
Dai scored twice in 12 appearances for Wales between 1934 and 1939 and is the first of our ten cap men. 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 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 four, before Marcus, have got there 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 includes Mathias Jensen, Christian Nørgaard, Henrik, Marcus and Halil, to have appeared in an international tournament.
Mathias and Christian both reached the ten-cap mark this year. The pair played for Denmark in the delayed UEFA 2020 European Championships and had quite the impact. Mathias played in all six games, and Christian in five, as Denmark reached the Semi-Finals of the tournament, played this summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In doing so, they became the first Brentford players to reach that stage of a major international event.
Mathias’ appearances in that tournament took him to 12 caps and now has 15. Christian reached ten in September and now also has 15. Only two men have played more international games while on Brentford’s books than that pair. Marcus needs two more caps to move in to the top six of that list and will also be hunting Halil in the international goal race. Mathias and Christian, for their part, now only sit seven behind Henrik in our most-capped list and can catch him in the next 12 months.