Arsenal outcast, Denmark hero: The puzzling figure of Nicklas Bendtner

An international hat-trick is a feat that is rarely achieved, but one was recorded in Denmark’s last-ditch 3-2 victory over the United States earlier this week.

After showing perfect positioning to score his first, the player in question slotted home a confident second and rounded off a fine night’s work with a sublime long-range effort to secure victory for his nation.

Somewhat surprisingly to many, Nicklas Bendtner was the player to complete the hat-trick, with the Scandinavian striker continuing an impressive goalscoring record for his country.

If you knew nothing of Bendtner from his club ordeals, scouts would surely have been reporting back to their employers of a burly striker with good movement off the ball and a killer eye for goal.

However, this centre forward’s reputation precedes him and it appears that the Dane will be confined to the list of attackers that have delivered for their countries over the years but struggled to replicate this for their clubs.

Interestingly, Bendtner seemingly reads his own press reports after international feats as the 27-year-old has a a rather heightened opinion of himself.

This has resulted in plenty of fans giving him the nickname ‘Lord Bendtner’, due to his delusions of grandeur.

Spending nine years on Arsenal’s senior squad list is no mean feat for any player, but despite the longevity of the maligned striker he never really won over the club’s fans.

A return of on average a goal every five games in the Premier League was simply not good enough for a club with ambitions of silverware, title chasing and an attractive brand of attacking football.

Not one to enjoy playing second fiddle, Bendtner struggled to come to terms with the presence of superior equivalents such as Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry.

With Denmark’s modest pool of attacking talent, translating from being the main man at national level to a fringe figure for his club has always seemingly been something that is hard to take for the Copenhagen-born forward.

Nicklas BendtnerLoan spells at Birmingham and Sunderland gave the English football community fleeting glimpses of why Arsène Wenger invested significant time and effort into the Dane, while a temporary spell at Juventus made him something of a mock figure in Italy.

Bendtner left the Emirates Stadium last summer, probably a couple of years later than he ought to, with Wolfsburg taking the gamble on his services.

This season the Volkswagen Arena outfit have been an attacking revelation in the Bundesliga and the side closest to throwing powerhouses Bayern Munich off top spot.

Dieter Hecking’s men have shown ruthlessness on the break, incisive attacking and netted 57 goals along the way, but Bendtner has played a very limited role in this.

With Bas Dost on fire and the Bundesliga outfit’s 4-2-3-1 formation catering for only one striker, Bendtner has been getting splinters on the bench rather than amongst the goals.

His club future looks increasingly bleak, with suggestions that a number of Danish clubs have actually tried to bring him back to his homeland.

With no sign that things will improve in Germany, another move seems necessary but Bendtner will be reluctant to take a step down in either prestige or wages.

Despite his club struggles, Bendtner’s triple against America makes it 29 goals in 65 appearances for his nation – an impressive return in anyone’s book.

With Denmark topping a Euro 2016 qualifying group that also contains Portugal and Serbia, Bendtner’s continued prolificacy in front of goal will be a major feature in the nation’s chances of making it to France next year.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
Stay updated by email

Enter your email address to receive our articles by email: