Belfast Telegraph

Brian Jensen will be a No.1 hit with Crusaders, insists club legend

 

By Graham Luney

Crusaders legend Roy McDonald says he's confident new boy Brian Jensen will be a smash hit at the club.

Jensen, who has agreed a one-year deal with the Hatchetmen after leaving League Two side Mansfield Town, is relishing this new chapter in his career while Sean O'Neill recovers from a shoulder operation.

The big Dane, who has also played for West Brom, Bury and Crawley Town, is adapting to Irish League life and he's keen to make a big early impression.

Crusaders goalkeeping coach McDonald, who refers to Seaview as his "second home", believes the FK Liepaja tie is his 17th European clash with the club, a love affair which has lasted since 1972.

Jensen, who made 38 Premier League appearance for Burnley, turned 42 this month but McDonald has no concerns regarding the classy performer from Copenhagen.

"He's a great character, a super guy," said McDonald. "He has plenty of experience and loves to work hard in training. He's really excited about the European games and this will be his debut in Europe.

"He's enjoyed some great training sessions and he loves it. I've no doubt Brian will be a great asset to the club. His attitude is first class and I can remember watching him on TV playing for Burnley. It's been lovely to get to know him and I know he's 42 but that doesn't matter.

"He looks after himself and he has always kept a high level of sharpness and fitness. Roy Carroll, who turns 40 in September, is another gauge for me and he has been in brilliant form for Linfield."

McDonald, now 65, feels "part of the furniture" at Seaview and he could certainly tell the players a few European tales.

"I played for Distillery against Barcelona with the great Martin O'Neill in 1971, they beat us 3-1 at Windsor and we lost 4-0 at the Nou Camp but myself and Martin were teenagers and I had never been abroad before," he added.

"We weren't able to train on their pitch but we got a tour of the stadium and the dressing rooms were massive. Everything was on a different level with spiral staircases and you had to walk up to reach the pitch at ground level, they watered the pitch too and we had to change from rubber soles to studs but playing at 9pm in front of 60,000 fans was incredible.

"The games against Liverpool in 1976 were also special, it was the first season they won the European Cup and I got man of the match at Anfield where we lost 2-0. A lot was made of Liverpool playing a team of mechanics and shipyard workers but Billy Bingham gave us a team-talk and told us to play out of our skins because they could really hammer us and the fans applauded us off the pitch and at half-time.

"I know there's support for summer football but I'm more old school and happy to take the rough with the smooth. But teams should never take anything for granted, particularly in Europe."

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