'Smouldered' - Jannik Vestergaard makes honest Leicester City admission after fresh boost
Source: Leicestermercury

Jannik Vestergaard has spoken of his pride after being recalled to the Denmark squad on the back of his Leicester City revival.

Vestergaard has been named by national boss Kasper Hjulmand for the upcoming crucial Euro 2024 qualifiers against Slovenia and Northern Ireland, along with Leicester teammate Mads Hermansen and former City star Kasper Schmeichel. Denmark are currently second in Group H going into the final round of fixtures but only trail leaders Slovenia on goal difference and are four points ahead of third-placed Kazakhstan as they chase automatic qualification.

Vestergaard has not featured for Denmark since June 2022 and missed out on the World Cup in Qatar later that year. He was not getting a game for Leicester at the time but has emerged as a key defender under Enzo Maresca this season as the Foxes bid to bounce back from their shock relegation from the Premier League.

"It's really nice to be back, the centre-back told Danish media outlet Tipsbladet. "The national team means the most to me as a football player, so having earned my way back is a great joy, but it's also something I'm proud of."

Vestergaard had few complaints about his absence in Qatar, admitting: "I wouldn't have selected myself for the World Cup considering I had no playing time. Nevertheless, it hurt not being a part of something I felt I belonged to. I feel at home in the national team, and I also didn't know if I was emotionally capable of watching the World Cup matches. I couldn't stay away, so I suffered with the team and Denmark."

He continued: "Kasper Hjulmand and I have had occasional contact, and he has expressed the wish that I would bounce back. Unfortunately, there was no immediate improvement after the World Cup, so in that sense, we haven't had a lot to talk about. However, at no point have I felt completely out of the national team picture."

On hearing the news he had been recalled, Vestergaard, who has 35 caps to his name, said: "I was really happy. The national team has given me the greatest experiences in my career, and at the same time, there was the aspect that I felt I had now put the final period on my bad spell. I believe I have come out of it stronger - I have gained an entirely new motivation."

His "bad spell" that he refers to saw him frozen out of the first-team picture completely under Brendan Rodgers. Vestergaard felt that gave him extra motivation to fight his way back for both club and country.

Asked how things could go so wrong for him at Leicester, initially, the former Southampton man admitted: "I don't have a particularly good answer to that. I've pondered it for a long time myself, but right now, I just focus on the fact that the last four months have been good."

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