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      Joachim Andersen on goals, Glasner & going up the table


      As far as 28th birthday presents go, a call-up to the Denmark national squad for Euro 2024 is not bad going – many happy returns today (31st May), Joachim!

      To celebrate, we republish his latest Palace programme interview below...

      This interview originally appeared in the Crystal Palace v Manchester United matchday programme. You can shop for programmes by clicking HERE.

      Thriving under a new manager and playing a new system, Joachim Andersen talks facing international teammates, his pedigree as a centre-forward and the Oliver Glasner effect...

      When Crystal Palace headed to Old Trafford in late September, the match went very much as predicted. The rain lashed down, the game was competitive and the three points were won by a sweep of the boot from a Danish superstar with an eye for goal.

      Except... there was one key difference.

      While Rasmus Højlund had scored his first Manchester United goal in the Allianz Arena just 10 days earlier, it wasn’t the then-20-year-old centre-forward who proved the matchwinner. It was his national teammate, his compatriot who had already spent three years taking the Premier League by storm. Joachim Andersen struck it sweetly, and three points headed back to south London.

      It wasn’t just any goal, either. The strike won September’s Goal of the Month and was a nominee for the club’s Goal of the Season – not bad for a centre-back.

      Joachim Andersen wins September Goal of the Month

      “Today is not about me or about any other individual, it’s about the team,” said Andersen after the game. But come on, Joa, let’s talk about it for just a little bit longer.

      “That goal, for me personally, is something I’ll remember,” he said. “It’s something I need to improve on: I need to score more goals because I’m capable of scoring goals. I have the desire to score. I think I have a pretty good strike actually!

      “I just sensed where the ball would fall, like a good striker would do, and I hit it really well. Amazing goal.”

      We’re glad that modesty eventually wore off. He’s not just speculating about what a striker might do. He knows from first-hand experience.

      “I’m an old striker back in the day,” he says. “I have good feet and I can finish, so I know I have that in my locker. It’s just about not thinking too much in the situation and trying to hit the ball cleanly.”

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      Sometimes I’ll joke with JP [Mateta] a little bit – but I think they know what they have to do!

      Joachim Andersen

      Andersen only stopped playing up-front as a 16-year-old. Even in training, the instinct occasionally kicks back in – Joa the defender becomes Joa the finishing coach.

      “Sometimes when we have small-sided games, I move a little bit up front and hopefully score some goals.

      “Sometimes I’ll joke with JP [Mateta] a little bit – but I think they know what they have to do! They don’t need me to tell them what to do, so I let that go.”

      With Mateta scoring 13 goals in his last 12 appearances of the season, perhaps Andersen’s tips ultimately paid off.

      But Mateta isn’t the only player to have enjoyed his football since Oliver Glasner’s arrival just over two months ago.

      Palace finished the season seven unbeaten in the Premier League, including victories against European challengers Liverpool (at Anfield), West Ham United, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Aston Villa.

      “He’s on top of everything,” says Andersen of the new boss. “The [recovery] of injured players, how much they do. Our food, our training, all the data. He’s really into everything to get maximum precision. I think that’s really cool.

      “He sees everything, and you can’t hide from him. He has clear ideas, and he has a clear structure about how he wants to do things.

      "We will get better and better – of course it takes time to learn new things. Our system has changed to 3-4-3, and it takes some practice.

      “We’re trying to improve and we’ve been speaking about it. We’ve seen a really positive direction. We play better with the ball now and we are creating good chances. But I think we’re on the right track. We needed to finish this season well, and then next season will be really cool.”

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      When the team [needs it], you have to step up.

      Joachim Andersen

      But what does ‘really cool’ entail? For Andersen, it’s all about improvement – both in terms of performances and points. “It’s not because we have a goal to be number 12 or number 14,” he says.

      “Talking on everyone’s behalf, we want to play something fun. We want to be in higher positions. We want to be able to be satisfied with the season, and we haven’t been satisfied with this season. It’s something we hope to be able to do as well.

      “I’ve had matches where I could have done better, but overall I’ve had a good season. I’m trying to take responsibility as much as I can. I’m trying to contribute as much as I can. My leadership and my performance have been satisfying.

      "When the team [needs it], you have to step up.”

      It helps that there are other leaders within the dressing room. Andersen, normally starting on the right-hand side of the centre-back pairing in his three years at Crystal Palace, has become used to seeing Joel Ward just outside him, with the club captain still performing in red and blue.

      “Joel is a really good friend of mine and he is beloved within the team,” Andersen says. “He’s a top guy and everyone really likes him here. He’s our captain! To make 300 appearances for a club in the Premier League, that’s a huge achievement.

      “I’m just happy for him because he deserves it. He’s a top professional and most importantly a really good guy. I’m happy to know him. He’s a really good leader.”

      That professionalism has led to some remarkable results with the pair in the side. Andersen picks out two as standout memories from his time at the club.

      “I think the win against [Manchester] City, 2-0 away, was quite good – a very good game,” he says. “It is so difficult to win there. The one I remember best is our 3-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur at home, where we played really, really well from start to finish.

      “We need to find that kind of level if we want to do something. I think I speak on everyone’s behalf when I say we are not happy where we are. We want to be higher in the table, and we want to play for something.

      “It has been a season with a lot of ups and downs. Now we need to finish up well and then hopefully we can build something with the new coach, get a good summer and come back in good shape.”

      A ‘good summer’ for Andersen could mean a lot more than just a few weeks on the beach to recharge his system.

      With the European Championships on the horizon, it could be a special few weeks – as Denmark aim to improve on their semi-final finish three years ago. Andersen could face defensive partner Marc Guéhi and England in the group stages.

      But for now, in a new system under Oliver Glasner, Andersen has stepped up a level once again.

      Calm in possession, aggressive off the ball, a leader both in the dressing room and on the pitch, he is the modern-day centre-back that so many Premier League teams spend entire transfer windows searching for.

      Whether it’s on the training pitch or roared on by a raucous Selhurst Park on a Saturday afternoon, Andersen has one clear aim: to win. Under Oliver Glasner, it’s an ambition he is fulfilling time and time again.

      Who would bet against him doing so with his national side?