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Coaching the next generation of great Danes

Mads Davidsen is an under 19s coach with top Danish club Brondby IF. Davidsen, pictured getting a lift from the Brondby players after their Under 19s title success, talked to Total Football's Chris Kelso about development of players, Danish style...

What are the main aims of your role?

My role is to develop players for our senior squad and make these young talents ready for first team football at the highest level. Of course, we also try to win every game, but we only focus on the match on the day. The other days are development practice. I took charge when the former coach was hired as the assistant coach for our first team. Before that I was the assistant coach as well.

Is there any aspect of the job you find most rewarding?

I believe the stage from under 19 to senior level is the most difficult one. The players are stars in youth football, playing for the national youth teams and suddenly they are number 33 in a big squad, and nobody cares about them, because the senior coaches has one focus - winning at the weekend.

I find it exiting to work with talented young players and try to find the right way for each person mentally, technically, tactically and physically. It is different from player to player, and I love this part of the work. I will give my right arm for helping players towards a big career.

Is it common for players in your side to make the step up to the senior squad? 

Yes. Last season we won the Danish under 19 championship and five players are now in our first team squad. We hope to bring one or two players up every season, but sometimes it will be diffcult, and it is allways a question of quality.

Copenhagen did well in The Champions League last year, do you think Brondby will be able to match their efforts in the near future? And do you think Brondby could ever see a return to the club's golden era of European success?

Brondby is a club with fantastic potential. It is one of the biggest clubs in Scandinavia with fans everywhere and media everywhere, so the potential will allways help this club, but the results have not been good in recent seasons.

Are you particularly excited about any players coming through the ranks?

We have Daniel Norouzi and Mathias Gehrt from our under 19 team last season. They will soon be regulars in the first team - Mathias has allready played a lot of matches.

Can you tell us a bit about your past experience outside coaching? You have an extensive CV, covering a range of roles as diverse as triathalon, running and football commentary?

Well, I like to keep myself in shape. I have trained football, running and weights all my life, and I still love to push myself. When I was young I had an injury, so I could not play football, but since then I have run five marathons, and this August I took part in an Ironman, event, which was always a big goal for me, so I am satisfied - and a bit tired!

For two years I have been a football commentator at Eurosport, where I am used as an expert in youth games and tournaments such as the Under 17s World Cup. I like to analyse the game and help the viewers get some new knowledge of football. I am educated in communications at the University of Roskilde, so I can also use my communication skills as a football coach.

If a vacancy came up with the Brondy senior side, would you be willing to fill it?

It is difficult to make a plan in football, but in two or three years, I want to work abroad. Almost no Danish coaches work abroad and I want to show that I have got the skills and know how to help clubs away from Denmark. I have a lot of confidence in myself, and I am looking to improve my skills 24-7.

As we speak, I am not ready to be a senior head coach. I am only 29 years old and are still learning at youth level, so right now, that is my goal. But of course, I love Brondby. It will always be my club - and it would be a dream and a fantastic honour some day to take charge of Brondby IF.


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