Brentford defender Henrik Dalsgaard says promotion to the Premier League would make up for the “hurt” of being left out of Denmark’s European Championship squad.
Right-back Dalsgaard will face Swansea in the Sky Bet Championship play-off final on Saturday, just days after suffering the disappointment of being overlooked at international level.
The 31-year-old had felt ready to represent his country this summer after returning from a two-month injury absence to feature in both legs of the Bees’ semi-final win over Bournemouth.
He remains determined to help end the west London club’s 74-year exile from the top flight and hopes his performance at Wembley will give national team coach Kasper Hjulmand cause for regret.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with my injury; he just chose another player,” said Dalsgaard, who has 26 caps and played all four Denmark games at the 2018 World Cup.
“Obviously that hurt and it still hurts, but I am trying to turn it around and hopefully he’s watching the game on Saturday and I will go out and prove him wrong.”
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Asked if winning this weekend would fully compensate for his Euro 2020 omission, he replied: “Yes.”
Brentford’s previous nine play-off campaigns have ended in failure.
Those setbacks included last year’s agonising extra-time final defeat to local rivals Fulham.
Dalsgaard – one of nine players still with the Bees to have started the painful loss to the Cottagers – is confident of breaking the unwanted statistic and determined to enjoy another pressurised occasion which will earn the victorious club a reported £170m.
“One time has to be the first and that’s going to be on Saturday,” he said of Brentford’s previous play-off frustrations.
“This is why we play football: to play the big decisive games. It’s a bit like the World Cup, you want to play those games, that’s where the fun is.
“We try to focus on ourselves, but I honestly believe that if we hit our top level then we are going to be really, really hard to beat.
“Obviously there is an opponent but if we make it right, I’m sure we will make it.”
Brentford’s third-placed finish under Thomas Frank came after losing star attacking duo Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma to Premier League clubs Aston Villa and West Ham respectively.
Brighton forward Neal Maupay and Villa defender Ezri Konsa have also been sold by the Bees in recent seasons.
Dalsgaard, who turns 32 in July, admits the successes of his former team-mates provide encouragement about potentially stepping up a division.
“Yes, of course (it gives you hope) because you can see that the gap might not be as big as you once thought,” he said, ahead of running out in front a restricted crowd of 12,000 at the national stadium.
“Players performing in Brentford can definitely do well in the Premier League as well, so definitely.”
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