Christian Nørgaard’s appearance for Denmark at the weekend saw him set another landmark. Christian was an early substitute as Denmark were beaten by The Netherlands in an international friendly on Saturday, 26 March. Christian came on for Thomas Delaney in the 24th minute of the match in Amsterdam and earned his 16th cap in the contest.
Denmark are preparing for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be held in Qatar at the end of the year. They won nine of their ten matches in the UEFA qualification process and finished top of Group F. Christian played in nine of those ten games, only missing one because of suspension, and now sits third on his own in our list of those who have played most international games while on Brentford’s books.
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.
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 joint-fourth with Christian’s Denmark team mate Mathias Jensen on our most capped list. Mathias is also in the current Denmark squad but was an unused substitute against The Netherlands. He could be involved when Denmark play Serbia tomorrow, Tuesday 29 March.
Kamohelo, 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, Halil Dervişoğlu and Frank Onyeka - to have appeared in an international tournament. Denmark will play at least ten more games in 2022 so both Christian and Mathias have the chance to break the record.