MUNICH (Reuters) – Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand’s decision to go with a 3-5-2 formation at Euro 2024 has squeezed out old-fashioned wingers beloved by the fans such as Andreas Skov Olsen, the latest in a long line of tricky Danes who love to hug the touchline.

Assistant coach Morten Wieghorst told Reuters before the tournament that he expected Skov Olsen to be one of the jokers in the Danish pack at the finals but the 3-5-2 set-up has seen others preferred, much to the frustration of the 24-year-old.

“I always want to play, that’s why I’m here, but I can also see that it’s difficult for us wingers with the tactical system we have played so far,” Skov Olsen told reporters. “It’s about being ready if the coach changes system.”

Denmark drew their first two Group C games against Slovenia and England 1-1, with Skov Olsen getting a run in the 82nd minute against the latter – his first appearance in the tournament.

Hjulmand’s switch from Denmark’s traditional, swashbuckling 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 formations of the past, featuring wide men like Jesper Olsen, Brian Laudrup and Dennis Rommedahl who took on their direct opponents, is rooted in two main causes.

The first is a poor showing at the Qatar World Cup that continued into the Euro qualifying campaign, which heaped pressure on Hjulmand to tighten up the defence.

The second is to accommodate playmaker Christian Eriksen, who suffered a heart attack on home soil at the last Euros.

The Danish coach has so far played 32-year-old Eriksen just in front of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Morten Hjulmand in a midfield trio, with more defensively-minded wing-backs, rather than wingers like Skov Olsen, operating on the flanks.

“It’s a consideration, when to bring wing play into our play. Andreas Skov Olsen gives us more depth (to play in behind), while Jonas Wind gives us more ball control, and Wind is a striker who is good infield,” Hjulmand told reporters.

A left-footer who loves to cut in from the right, Skov Olsen can also play up front but he does not expect Hjulmand to change his mind – or his tactics – before Denmark’s final group game against Serbia on Tuesday when a win will guarantee progress.

“I think Kasper would prefer to use some of the other strikers because I think he sees me more as a winger,” Skov Olsen said.

(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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