Huddersfield Town centre-back Mathias Zanka is chasing a World Cup 2018 starting place in the Danish team.
Zanka believes that a good season with the Terriers will guarantee him a place in the starting line up for Denmark. However, first of all Age Hareide’s side face a two legged play off in November. Denmark were drawn against the Republic of Ireland to go to the World Cup.
The 27-year-old wanted to avoid either of the Irish teams as he feared it would be too much like the rough and tumble of a high intensity Premier League match.
Zanka would have preferred any other team, and would have chosen Greece if he was allowed to pick their opposition. Had they drawn Greece, the Terrier fancied Denmark's chances against them, especially if the home game had been the second game.
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Premier League experience
After being benched during the 1-1 draw against Romania which sealed the play off spot for the Danes, Zanka is eager to prove he can cut it Internationally and will be looking to his Huddersfield Town form to gain him a starting spot.
Following the move to the Yorkshire club in the summer transfer window from FC Copenhagen, Zanka has settled in well and will look to put the loss to Swansea City behind him as they face Manchester United at the weekend.
Before moving across to England, Zanka took tips from the Danish manager on how to adjust to life in the Premier League and English football.
Hareide played for both Manchester City and Norwich so is well placed to offer the advice. According to Zanka, "He spoke about his time at Manchester City. But he also said things had changed a lot, so he didn’t want to give many pointers.
“But he did talk about the culture and how everything was bigger and different.”
Having made a great start to their first ever Premier League campaign, conceding only three goals in the first six matches, they made too many mistakes against Tottenham Hotspur, Zanka admitted "We met a top class-team that day, one of the best in the Premier League.
“We got a little taste of the fact that if you make mistakes against these boys, they’ll punish you.
“I think had we made those mistakes against any other team in this league," the defender continued, "we probably would have been punished as well.
“They were very sharp, and they showed how good the Premier League can be"
Zanka will be hoping to start in the play offs to help his team qualify for Russia 2018, having been called up for the last games but on the bench and not used. The Dane will be wanting to go one better and make the starting line up and play a vital role in the play off matches