England v Denmark: I want England World Cup success, says Liverpool defender Daniel Agger – after we beat them first

There is always pressure. We have come here to Wembley to win and we want to beat England

As prestigious as a Wembley friendly is meant to be, for Nicklas Bendter and Daniel Agger this is a brief break from the pressing matter of a  Premier League title race.

Few international captains would diminish the  importance of a game, and Agger bristled at the suggestion on Monday that Wednesday’s match would be more relaxed than his title run-in for Liverpool. “There is always pressure,” said Agger, “there has to be pressure, or there is no point. We have come here to win and we want to win.”

Arsenal’s Bendtner was rather more sanguine. “It is a friendly,” he pointed out, “there is not a lot at stake.”

With Denmark having failed to qualify for this summer’s World Cup, there can be little doubt that Agger’s and Bendtner’s year will be defined by the next few weeks of the domestic season. Denmark do not play a competitive match for another six months, when they host Armenia in Copenhagen on 7 September, their first Euro 2016 qualifier.

Liverpool do not have another game until Sunday week, when they travel to Manchester United, but Arsenal are back in competition this Saturday lunchtime, against Everton in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Bendtner acknowledged that with Arsenal four points behind Chelsea, winning the league will not be easy. “It will be difficult,” said Bendtner. “There are a lot of good teams, but I am sure we will be fighting to the end to win.”

Bendtner has made just one start and one substitute appearance since his crucial late goal against Cardiff City on New Year’s Day, slipping behind Yaya Sanogo in the pecking order, and admitted some frustration with his  situation.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (second left) closes in on Jermain Defoe during England training in Enfield Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (second left) closes in on Jermain Defoe during England training in Enfield (PA)
“If you can find a footballer who says he is happy to sit and watch and not play, then I think he needs to find a different job,” Bendtner said. “I want to play. I am fit and ready, am training well. That I am not selected is up to the manager, it is not up to me. All I can do is train well, which is what I am doing. If he chooses different, then that is up to him.”

Tonight, though, will be an opportunity for Bendtner and Agger to line up against the players they see in training every day. There are five Liverpool and two Arsenal players in the England squad, making for an enjoyable reunion on the pitch.

“It is going to be good fun,” said Bendtner of competing with Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. “We will see who can joke around in the Arsenal dressing room afterwards, and maybe have a laugh about it. Ox has come back really strong, he did really well before his knee injury and has scored a lot of important goals for us.”

Agger has a more direct battle ahead of him, with team-mates Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. He would not be drawn on the dynamics of those contests – “I am looking forward to playing against England” – but he is certainly thrilled by Sterling’s progress. He is confident that the  19-year-old is worth taking to the World Cup.

“He can handle the pressure,” said Agger, “or else he would not play for us, for Liverpool. It is a great opportunity for him.”

Sterling came off the bench at St Mary’s on Saturday and scored with his first touch in Liverpool’s 3-0 league win, and Agger is confident in his ability to play on the biggest stage in the game. “If he continues what he is doing right now I cannot see why not,” Agger said. “He is a great, great talent – he has some qualities they can use.”

Sterling will still have to earn his place in the 23-man World Cup squad, but Steven Gerrard is surely already there. Agger, who has played under Gerrard’s captaincy for eight years now, admitted how keen he was for England to succeed in Brazil, for the sake of their captain.

“He has played a lot of games this season,” Agger said of Gerrard. “I really hope  England do well this year, because he deserves it.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map