Midfielder | Celta Vigo | Denmark
There are some things in life that we know are wrong yet still we do it, all of us. And one of those things is to label a developing footballer as being the ‘next…’ or ‘new…’ It only places a great weight of expectation onto a youngster, one he can well do without. It deprives him of individuality at the same time he’s trying to discover it.
Prior to his August move to Celta from FC Nordsjaelland for a commendably sensible fee of €5m Mathias Jensen was linked to all manner of British clubs ranging from Spurs and Southampton to Rangers and Celtic. In almost every article his name was omitted in the headline as it was widely decreed that the talented midfielder was the heir-apparent to Christian Eriksen.
Admittedly there are similarities. They’re both Danish, that’s the obvious place to start. They have the same build and inhabit the same spaces too, and there is an uncanny likeness to Jensen’s elegant dipping of his shoulder that sends opponents to the shops. His range of passing is not only heat-sought to feet but easy on the eye while there is a comfort in possession that suggests the frenetic chaos around him is slowed down by a few RPMs. Overall there is a smooth, silky style that very much evokes….no, let’s stop that; now we’re doing it too.
Mathias Jensen does bring to mind his fellow countryman and that is unquestionably good news for Celta de Vigo, Denmark, and football aficionados everywhere. But he serves the player himself no favours by bringing it up.
2018 has been…
…a year of two halves. A brilliant farewell season for the Wild Tigers saw him gain the captain’s armband while his performances in the Superliga more than justified his Danish Under 21 Player of the Year accolade in 2017.
A summer of transfer speculation ended when Jensen followed Stanislav Lobotka to Celta (the skilful Slovak having left Nordsjaelland a year earlier) and the reunion made sense on every level. La Liga suits the player’s attributes to a tee while the Galician club is the perfect environment to progress and impact upon a bigger stage especially when you factor in Celta’s recent approach of targeting the Scandinavian market. First they recruit, then they polish up the gem, and lastly they sell on for a profit and Jensen can only benefit from that.
There is only one problem here and that is the Dane’s lack of game-time because since his switch he’s been unable to dislodge a midfield consisting of Brais Mendez, Fran Beltran, and Okay Yokuslu and has so far made precisely one league appearance lasting 77 minutes. It’s all very well being patiently nurtured but you have to be given some exposure to sunshine.
Let’s wait and see. Undoubtedly Jensen has the chops to make it and his future remains bright but there is now the real risk of stagnation. It does a 22-year-old no good at all to warm the bench.
Surprisingly too the schemer with an accurate, fierce shot and a whole lot more to offer has yet to be granted a full international bow. Of course in that regard there is a certain someone blocking his path.