Michael Stensgaard — the Liverpool career that never was

When we think about most countries, naturally there are thoughts that spring to mind — stereotypes we recognise certain nations for. An example — for me, any mention of Denmark provokes thoughts of a delicate, soft pastry.

However, in terms of football, the Danish are surely most known for their goalkeeping produce — most notably the Schmeichels, father and son duo Peter and Kasper.

While the Schmeichels are the headline act, Denmark has produced a number of talented goalkeepers, some more recognisable than others. From Troels Rasmussen — who people may know for his goal-scoring antics — to Thomas Sørensen and Jonas Lössl, both of whom have enjoyed fairly successful spells in the Premier League.

Fewer will be familiar with one former Danish stopper — Michael Stensgaard. Instead of being remembered for performances between the sticks, Stensgaard is more famous for dislocating his shoulder when moving an ironing board.

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In 1994, Liverpool took a gamble on Denmark’s regular u21 goalkeeper, a highly-regarded young player at the time. The 19-year-old was brought to Merseyside from Danish club Hvidovre IF for £400,000.

Having joined the club at a young age, Stensgaard was bought with the hope he would succeed Bruce Grobbelaar. But after sustaining a freak injury early in his Anfield career, the Dane was never able to provide serious competition for David James.

Following a disappointing spell on Merseyside, during which he failed to make a senior appearance, his contact was mutually terminated in July 1996. He was just 21 years old, but there worries that he would never be able to play professionally again.

But he did — Stensgaard returned to his previous club Hvidovre IF in 1997. Two years on, he was back in England having managed to get his career back on track during a short spell at FC Copenhagen.

This time his England adventure was with Southampton, but it proved to be yet another underwhelming journey and eventually he was sent back — similarly to his time in Liverpool — to his previous club, FC Copenhagen.

Another serious injury — a spinal disc herniation — forced him to retire aged 26, having managed only 36 senior club appearances. He later went on to have a career in business and also acts as a FIFA-licensed football agent.

Sadly, Michael Stensgaard may never be recognised for his ability as a footballer, but more for his calamitous off-field injury which cost him a potentially lucrative career at the top of the sport.

James Miller

Contributor. Bobby Firmino enthusiast. Miller, not Milner.

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