A general method for measuring how good a football player is for people who are not big fans of the sport is a simple eye test. Do they look like they’s talented?
It has sometimes been reconsidered and reshaped as the “alien test” – would x-players impress another worldly being? Would they fear them if they were to face them in a Space Jam-like shutdown?
Mikkel Damsgaard is a player who has obvious quality. The Sampdoria man has a jink and a twist and a turn that most flair players have, a reading of the game that at least gave him a start for Denmark in their decisive Euro 2020 match against Russia on Monday night.
If you asked a casual fan (or an alien) to identify a man on the pitch who plays for Barcelona, they probably would not have pointed out Martin Braithwaite, but had almost definitely been drawn to Damsgaard. He plays with grace and finesse, every touch of the ball is a caress rather than a point, compared to the more robust game refined by Barça’s actual number nine.
• The first player born in the 2000s to score a European Championship goal • The youngest goal scorer for Denmark in a major tournament • Participated in ??? 21
Mikkel Damsgaard has a bright future! ?? pic.twitter.com/Z2dwzBiaso
– 90min (@ 90min_Football) 21 June 2021
It is not to take away from Braithwaite what a talented professional he is – he was one of Denmark’s best players once again – but Damsgaard gave Denmark a moment for the country to remember forever, and opened the scoring with a meandering from reach that did not was so different from strikes from compatriot Christian Eriksen.
Denmark’s entire tournament lost almost all significance after the events of their first game, but their squad has reacted admirably. They came flying out of the traps against a strong Belgian team and put Russia by the sword to save all hopes of qualifying for the 16-year-olds.
Damsgaard – again, only 20 – has been Eriksen’s direct replacement, but he looks and plays like an experienced professional, a touch of the Inter midfielder’s game seeps through. He hardly seemed intimidating to take such a responsibility in a must-win game for Denmark, sliding deep and between lines to make his little physical presence felt.
Denmark secured an unlikely place in the last 16 / Stuart Franklin / Getty Images
Denmark eventually rushed to a 4-1 victory, shutting down Russia and pushing them out of the park. Damsgaard played a major role in it and started proceedings on a famous night in Danish football history.
How about starting your legacy?