Nicklas Bendtner returned to scoring ways after his hat-trick against the United States last week as he often does whenever he puts on his national team Jersey.
After getting his name on the scoresheet for Denmark’s equalizer, Bendtner struck twice in the last ten minutes to complete his hat-trick as Denmark came from behind to beat USA. Leaving all the social media banter aside, Bendtner is genuinely one of the best players to have played for Denmark and his stats definitely prove that fact.
Bendtner isn’t a club’s dream striker to have; he doesn’t rip apart defenses with his pace, nor does he brush away defenders with brute strength and he isn’t someone who would score by dribbling past defenders. However, what he seems to possess in international games is that poacher’s instinct, somewhat similar to Filippo Inzaghi who was known for that.
When you notice Bendtner’s game, you’ll see that he seems to be a player who doesn’t like to slow down the game. I’m not saying that he is a busy player, but someone who tries to get rid of the ball as soon as he can. Maybe that explains the fact why he gets so few touches when he is playing and why Arsenal fans did weren’t his biggest fans as he lost the ball too often. But unlike his club performances, Bendtner seems to have excellent positioning in the box, which allows him to score with fewer touches, in his international games and has the lethality in putting the chances to bed.
The 27-year old also seems to play with more confidence on the international stage and maybe that is because he doesn’t have to worry about getting replaced by another quality striker which is usually the case at club level.
Stats show Bendtner could become Denmark’s greatest ever striker
With 29 goals in 66 appearances for the national side, Bendtner isn’t far away from Denmark’s all-time top scorer Jon Dahl Tomasson. The former Milan striker had scored 38 times in 79 appearances before deciding to hang up his boots. Not only could he become Denmark’s top scorer, but he can also reach a figure that future players from the country will find hard to break as Bendtner is still only 27 years old. Although most of his goals have come against lower ranked teams, such a record is something that he can be proud off.
Bendtner’s good form at international level can be attributed to the presence of good passers and the Danes’ counter-attacking style of play. With the likes of Christian Eriksen, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Lasse Sch ne in the side, there is no shortage of quality passes. But Bendtner’s biggest advantage is the absence of another quality striker as mentioned before. With that, Bendtner can afford to have an average game and get away with it which would never happen at club level. For instance, the presence of Emmanuel Adebayor, Eduardo, Robin Van Persie and Olivier Giroud at Arsenal over the last few years meant that any loss in form resulted in a replacement which hurt Bendtner for game time.
The same happened at Juventus as the presence of quality strikers meant Bendtner had limited time to impress with his performances, although in the Juventus case, injuries also played a big part.
Club performances and impact of injuries on them
At present, Bas Dost is his only competitor at Wolfsburg and the Dutchman wasn’t in the best of form in the first half of the Bundesliga season. However, Bendtner failed to capitalize as successive injuries meant he missed as many as seven games.
The second half of the season has been even harder as Dost has been in irresistible form. With 11 goals in nine games, he has made it incredibly hard for Bendtner to get a sniff. However, the Dane was given a rare full game just before the international break in which he failed to impress as Wolfsburg were held by Mainz.
Injuries have been a feature for Bendtner wherever he has gone as there is always a period at a particular club where he spends a lot of time on the sidelines. His spell at Juventus was unfortunately more about nursing a thigh injury (that kept him out for nearly four months) than playing games and trying to earn a permanent move.
Bendtner has shown in the past that with a continuous run of games, he can come good. His best season in terms of goals return was the 2008-09 season at Arsenal when he contributed 15 goals in 50 games. However, Bendtner couldn’t follow up that season with an even better one subsequently as an Inguinal Hernia injury meant he missed close to three months in the 2009-10 season. He did manage to score 12 goals that season in just 31 games including five goals in five Champions league games. Although his goals to games ratio seems to be pretty bad wherever he has played, the only way a club can get the best out of Bendtner is to give him enough chances; something that he is achieving with Denmark.
Denmark couldn’t follow up their win over USA with another one as they were beaten by France last Sunday. However, with Bas Dost failing to score in his last two games and Bendtner netting a hat-trick, we could see the Dane appearing tomorrow when Wolfsburg host Stuttgart at home.