Knudsen: Some Things Are Even More Important Than the World Cup!
Friday, 14th Sep 2018 11:11
Town defender Jonas Knudsen has recalled the hectic events surrounding the birth of his new baby daughter, Althea, while he was on World Cup duty with Denmark in Russia this summer.
Knudsen and wife Trine became parents for the first time in June – but they were around 1,700 miles apart when the baby entered the world several weeks earlier than expected and he was at the Danish training camp in Anapa.
The player explained: “The baby was born by emergency c-section. She was sitting the wrong way and they turned her the day after I travelled to Russia.
"I was texting with my wife and when she didn’t text me back I sent a message to her mum, who told me she couldn’t speak and I was worried, thinking ‘What’s going on here?’
“I had to go into a meeting and when that finished I received the news that my daughter had been born. I was very relieved that everything was okay and they were both well. It made me realise there are many things more important than football – and even the World Cup.
“It has been alright to be fair. There have been a few sleepless nights but it hasn’t been too bad. She has been sleeping okay, only waking up once or twice a night, so if this is what it is like I’ll take it. My wife has been brilliant with her and that’s a big part of it.”
Knudsen thought he would have to wait until Denmark’s involvement in the tournament was at an end before he would see Trine and the baby but his international colleagues had other ideas.
With Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen and Seville defender Simon Kjaer the prime movers, the players organised a whip-round to fund the hire of a private jet to fly Knudsen home for an emotional, albeit brief, get-together.
Knudsen added: “That was a fantastic gesture and I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me. It was so hectic at the time and tough being in Russia while my wife was giving birth.
“It was a difficult few days but after I’d been home to see them both I returned with a new energy. I could feel it and it was like I was a different person.
“The World Cup was an amazing experience. It was fantastic, absolutely brilliant to be honest. First and foremost, it was straight after we finished the season here. I had a week off and then we met up for two weeks of training.
“At that stage there were 35 players before the manager cut it down and I made it into the squad for Russia. It meant a great deal to me because I had been in and out of the squad for a while.
“Of course, once you are in the squad you then want to be playing in the World Cup and the chance came against Croatia. When it came I had to take it.”
He certainly did because it was from Knudsen’s trademark long throw in the very first minute that the Danes took the lead, although Croatia later equalised and eventually went through via a penalty shootout en route to eliminating England at the semi-final stage and finishing runners-up to the winners, France.
Knudsen is now looking forward to his throw-ins being a major contributory factor as Paul Hurst’s new-look Town side seek to put a disappointing start behind them and start to move away from the wrong end of the table, starting with tomorrow’s trip to face a Hull side sitting just one point and two places above them.
He said: “I think we have to train a bit more on them and I think we can get more goals from them. Sometimes there are tight games in the Championship and that could make the difference, and we win the game 1-0.
“We all want to play good football and put it in the top corner but it isn’t always possible. You saw it in the game against Croatia when my throw-in was flicked on and the ball ended up in the net.
“I hope we can do it with Ipswich. I have got my range back after I had to stop for a while after my shoulder operation. It’s much better now. I have to speak to the manager about the throw-ins and hopefully we can get some goals from them.
“We scored from one against Aston Villa but it’s not been a case of having to do them in every game. I want to practice more but it’s not only about me practicing.
“It’s also about getting the relationship with the other players and deciding who is going to do what.
“When we win a throw-in and I launch we all have to know what we’re doing. I would like us to get between five and 10 goals in a season from throw-ins as long as we do it right. I think it’s possible.”
Liverpool have been mocked in many quarters following their appointment of part-time specialist coach Thomas Gronnemark, with whom Knudsen has worked in the past, and the Town man insists it could be a winning move by Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp to employ the Dane.
He added: “Thomas was living close to me and I was doing some work with him. I had two sessions with him and then I dislocated my shoulder. The one-to-one connection stopped and then I was transferred to Ipswich and we lost contact.
“You only have to look at the stats. He was working with teams in the Danish League – not the best teams – and they were scoring 10 to 12 goals from throw-ins in a season. Football is about goals, all types of goals and they are all important.”
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