Middlesbrough striker Martin Braithwaite has been included in Denmark’s 23-man squad for the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
Middlesbrough’s Braithwaite recently said he was ‘ready to die’ to accomplish his dream of playing in a World Cup. His dream became reality this week as Denmark announced their complete squad, which included the forward.
Braithwaite spent the second half of the season out on loan following the arrival of Tony Pulis as Middlesbrough manager. The Dane returned to France and signed for Bordeaux on a short-term loan.
His first season in England was certainly hit and miss. He scored six goals in 21 appearances for Boro, but was never really deployed as a central striker under Garry Monk. Braithwaite was often played out wide or as a number 10 in support of Britt Assombalonga.
If Braithwaite had continued to ply his trade in the Championship, his World Cup place may have been in jeopardy more than it already was. Bordeaux gave Braithwaite an opportunity to play in his natural position, and it gave him a lifeline in terms of his World Cup dream.
His record back in France was similar to that of his time on Teesside, scoring four goals in 14 games. But all of those goals came in his last five appearances for Gus Poyet’s side, as he helped them to finish in a Europa League position.
Braithwaite hit form at just the right moment, and with an injury to Nicklas Bendtner, this meant that the Middlesbrough man was selected to represent his country at the World Cup for the first time.
Ipswich Town’s Jonas Knudsen was also selected to represent Denmark, alongside Huddersfield duo Jonas Lossl and Mathias Jorgensen, Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen.