Mikkel Duelund 19 Midfielder FC Midtjylland Denmark
Mikkel Duelund is an Aarhus-born Danish winger with a knack for creativity, an eye for goal and a rarely-concealed desire to play for Manchester United. He spent his youth career with his home town club but moved to FC Midtylland before graduating to the first team.
2016 has been…
Duelund’s big break. After starting 13 Superliga games last season he’s been a fairly consistent starter this time around, playing a part in all but a handful of Midtjylland’s matches in the top flight. He also featured in seven of their eight UEFA Europa League qualifying matches.
Although he offers wonderful attacking play by hugging the touchline in a team that plays with a lot of width, Duelund’s more frequent involvement when he drifts around the edge of the penalty area is more potent. His goalscoring record is noteworthy, and that comes from the periods in which he strays from the flanks.
He can play on either wing and he really thrives when Midtjylland have a lot of the ball. He’s got smart feet and oozes imagination, a trait he can make real with his excellent weight of pass. He picks passes other players wouldn’t take on and plays them like they’re nothing, yet he’s mostly just neat, tidy and effective. It’s bursts of pure creativity that make him stand out.
Like many precocious young wingers, there’s sometimes a question mark over the protection Duelund offers his full-back, which exposes Midtjylland’s wing at times. But he creates and he finishes, he gets into great attacking positions and he’s got time on his side. We’re excited.
Duelund’s newest challenge on the international stage is to establish himself in Niels Frederiksen’s Denmark Under-21 side. Having represented Denmark at Under-16, Under-17, Under-18 and Under-19 levels as one of his country’s hottest prospects, the Midtylland winger was promoted into the Under-21s this autumn, two months after turning 19.
It’s clear that a senior team bow is also on his radar. Getting off the mark in 2017 would be a big step for Duelund, but one he’ll be eager to make in order to continue his progress. If he has to wait a little longer, no harm will come of that either.
As for which club is paying his wages this time next year, well, we hope it’s FC Midtjylland. Duelund’s wide-eyed flirtation with Manchester United suggests a Premier League future might be in his plan.
But, for now, this is one teenager who’d do well to stay put. He’s currently playing alongside Rafael van der Vaart, a player Duelund has expressed huge respect for and from whom he’s desperate to learn. It’s a stance we endorse.
C Making the most of a glorious imagination
All images used have been kindly provided by the National Audubon Society in The United States under a Creative Commons License. The Society’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity. You can donate to their work, here.