Beesotted’s Jim Levack gives his views on the departure of Henrik Dalsgaard – who leaves a hero (Henrik that is, not Jim!)
So Henrik the Viking has taken his longboat back to the fatherland.
The announcement slipped almost beneath the radar. Unfussy, uncomplicated, minimal fuss. Rather like the player we’ve come to rely upon in the last few seasons.
I feared this day and a return to his native Denmark might come, but when it did it felt right. He came back from injury to get us over the line, like the warrior he is.
One indelible image I’ll take with me is of him smiling as he grabbed the timewasting Begovic around the face and told him to ‘get on with it’ after yet another attempt at gamesmanship.
You didn’t argue with Henrik. He had the face of a man you’d look at in the trenches before going into battle and think ‘we’ll be fine’.
He’s earned his last hurrah at Midtjylland, but we all know it will be anything but that. He will strain every sinew in his body to eke another three quality years from his body.
The same body that didn’t have a break after World Cup duty and met with howls of anguish from the uninformed Brentford few who think every player should be a nine in every game.
Don’t kid yourself. His powerhouse performances and lung-busting runs into the opposition box were a feat in themselves after a gruelling between-season tournament.
Calm too. His interviews in the build-up to the Play Off final did much to ease the nerves of Brentford fans raised on a diet of big talk and then defeat when it mattered.
His aura of calmly confident assurance that comes with knowing you’ll have a decent game and will let no one down, must have spread to his teammates, protegee Mads Roerslev among them.
Now that fierce counterpart has gone, and it will leave a gap that will need to be filled with a player equally as ruthless, equally unfazed by the magnitude of the big match.
Liverpool and Manchester United would have held no fear for Henrik. He’d have treated all winger foes as another one on one battle he wanted to win. Big boots to fill.
Powerful, controlled and measured, his record of just one red card in 154 speaks volumes for the way he played the game and the respect he earned from match officials.
Astonishingly though, he also had his critics at one point, from people with no concept of either the physiological or cerebral demands of elite sport.
After a gruelling season followed by a World Cup campaign and then straight back to business without R&R, his form plateaued. Not good enough for the cynics, but he was always good enough for supporters who knew he’d come good.
Form is temporary, class is permanent – a phrase that we will do well to remember in the months ahead as players peak and dip but always grow in the incredible system built by Thomas Frank and his team.
I’ve watched many right backs down the years, with the quality surging in the past ten or so with the likes of Logan and Odubajo setting new standards. But, for me, Henrik Dalsgaard was always the epitome of a rock-solid defender with a ‘none shall pass’ attitude.
Fitting then that the name Henrik means ‘Ruler of the home’ or ‘Lord of the house’ because he was certainly the boss of ours and many others in the Championship… and for that we will always be grateful.
Thanks Henrik – it was a pleasure.