Lasse Møller keeps feet on the ground amid plenty of praise

FEATURE: His success at the Men’s 21 World Championship has not gone to the head of Danish shooting star Lasse Møller, but experts believe he might appear at the EHF EURO 2018 in January

Photo: Stephane Pillaud / IHF

“Lasse Møller is outstanding. Bad news for the rest of us left backs!”

Those were the words in a tweet from one of the left backs in the Danish national team, Michael Damgaard from SC Magdeburg, after the final of the Men’s Junior (U21) World Championship in Algeria.

If Damgaard has to worry about his position in the Danish senior team remains to be seen. But he is not the only one who has been speaking highly of Lasse Møller after the tournament in Algeria, where Denmark took silver following their 39:38 loss after extra time in the final against Spain.

The 21-year-old left back from Danish league club GOG scored 11 times in the final to raise his total to 76 for the tournament and share top spot on the goal scorers list with Skander Zaied from Tunesia. Møller became the Most Valuable Player and the young back court received plenty of praise, also in Denmark.

“I did see Michael Damgaard’s tweet and hurried to like it. I know Michael very well, and acknowledgement from him obviously means a lot to me,” Møller says.

The left back says he is “proud” of his team’s achievement in Algeria.

“We did better than people expected from us, and I think the main reason was that we knew we could match most of the other nations after all,” he says. “Furthermore, our coach (Morten Henriksen) made some courageous and successful tactical decisions. For instance, playing seven against six in the semi-final against France probably saved us in that game.”

‘An exciting lad’

Some call Møller the greatest Danish talent since Mikkel Hansen, and several experts already see him as a possible part of the Danish senior team for the EHF EURO 2018 in Croatia next January.

“He would definitely be an exciting lad to include in the squad,” says TV2 commentator and former top coach Bent Nyegaard, generally regarded as one of Denmark’s leading handball experts. “In any case, there is no doubt that he is a coming man in the national team. There is no way around him in the future.”

Nyegaard, however, also points out that Denmark already have a lot of strong left and centre backs.

“Apart from Mikkel Hansen, we have Michael Damgaard, Nikolaj Markussen – who may be a bit behind the others, though, but who has some special competences – and we have Lasse Andersson, but he can also play in the middle, of course, as he does in Barcelona,” Nyegaard says.

“Lasse Møller certainly has some competences which might come in useful. He has the size, he has the shot, and he is extremely good at estimating each and every situation.”

Nyegaard says he doesn’t want to compare both players but he thinks Møller and Hansen share some similar qualities.

“For instance, he always seems to know where the ball has to go and where to send every pass, just like Mikkel,” Nyegaard says. “Of course, he still has some shortcomings in his game, not least in the physical area, but he has the time to work on that.”

‘The senior team is an ambition’

Nyegaard’s words nearly leave Møller speechless.

“I can only say that it is great to be acknowledged, but frankly, I have not even given the (EHF) EURO a thought yet,” he says. “Of course, the senior team is an ambition for me but I have not yet thought that it might be already at the next EURO.”

Møller is aware that his road to the national team must include good performances at club level, and that is what he intends to concentrate on for now.

“I am going to focus on performing as well as possible for GOG in the coming season, and then we will have to see where that leads,” Møller says.

Obviously his future dreams are not limited to the Danish national team.

“Of course, my ambition is to go abroad at some point, but I am in no hurry,” he says. “I do not have any club of my dreams yet or any particular league I would like to play in.”

written by Peter Bruun / ew / ts