Denmark legend Peter Schmeichel admits Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko needs to up his game



Denmark legend Peter Schmeichel insists Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko needs to up his game if he wants to become a regular for the national team.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper watched the centre-half collect his fifth cap as a substitute in Tuesday’s narrow 1-0 loss to Scotland at Hampden but insists Sviatchenko’s long-term prospects look bleak.

Captain Daniel Agger, who now plays for Brondby, Chelsea youngster Andreas Christensen and Fenerbahce’s Simon Kjaer started both games against Iceland and Scotland as new manager Age Hareide favoured a back three.

(Pic: Carlsberg)

And even though Sviatchenko was named the Danish Superliga player of the year after helping Midtjylland secure their first ever title prior to a January switch to Celtic, Schmeichel insists the Hoops player faces fierce competition for a start.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Schmeichel, whose son Kasper started in goal at Hampden, said: “Will he become a mainstay in the Denmark defence? It doesn’t look like it.

“That position is probably our best position in terms of the players that we have available.

“There’s a situation with Agger that he’s not signed a new contract and no-one knows, I don’t even think he knows, if he is going to carry on playing football. He has loads of injuries to contend with.

“If he chooses not to carry on then that leaves a space open for someone like Sviatchenko but also Jannik Vestergaard, who was on the bench and plays in Germany (for Werder Bremen).

“He’s making headway and he actually came on before Sviatchenko in the first game.

“I think he needs to step it up a little bit, he’s played in Denmark for a long, long time.

“He’s come over here. He’s only been here a few months but he needs more experience at a higher level, more tempo, more physical. I would like to see him for a few more months before making that call.”


The legendary former goalkeeper, meanwhile, admits he would not like to be in Scotland manager Gordon Strachan’s shoes when it comes to deciding who should be handed the number one jersey.

Cardiff City stopper David Marshall has been in possession of the gloves but missed out on the Denmark match through pneumonia.

Hull’s Allan McGregor excelled in last Thursday’s win over the Czech Republic, while Celtic keeper Craig Gordon shone in the win over the Danes.

Schmeichel, who won Euro 92, the Champions League and the English Premier League five times during this career, added: “I’m not going to put a name to that but it’s an interesting situation because they’ve all claimed the number one position at some point over the last couple of years.

“For whatever reason, one has got a chance and he’s grabbed it and stayed in goal for a long period. Marshall was obviously ill.

“Craig made a fantastic double save.

“Allan McGregor against the Czech Republic, he was man of the match – he claimed a stake for the number one jersey.

“I think Gordon Strachan has a serious, serious headache there.”