Mads Frokjaer reflects on big early Preston North End challenge and 'chaotic' Championship

Mads FrokjaerMads Frokjaer
Mads Frokjaer | Getty Images
PNE signed the Danish midfielder from Odense in the summer transfer window

It's been a rather whirlwind first four months at Preston North End for Mads Frokjaer, not that he shows it one bit. The 24-year-old is as chilled out as they come, but definitely don't mistake that for weakness. He finds himself here through hard work, on talent and by chasing his dream.

Frokjaer swapped the Danish Superliga for Championship in the summer. Since then, he has displayed the quality that tempted PNE into paying around £1.2million to land him. It's not been plain sailing on or off the pitch though and time has been needed for Frokjaer to truly settle.

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His peaceful hometown is a world apart from the hustle and bustle of Manchester city centre, where Frokjaer travels in from every day for training. It has never been too over-facing, mind, with the Dane taking everything about England in his stride.

"Yeah, I live in Manchester," said Frokjaer. "It is different; I've never owned a car. I just used my bike to get everywhere. It was a smaller city as well, but I feel like I'm more in need of a car over here than back home. English people and Danish people are pretty similar though, I think. So, every day things, it's just life: going to the shop and buying some groceries. You can do that everywhere and it helps that I can speak the language.

"If I went to Italy, I couldn't say a word. My missus is over right now and family and friends have been really good at coming over and saying 'Hi'. So, I think I have somebody coming over every week until after Christmas and even though it can be awkward to arrange it, it's nice when people finally come over and you can just relax and speak some Danish."

Frokjaer chats away in his Preston tracksuit on Thursday morning; a contrast to the attire you typically find him arriving in. The midfielder is big on his fashion with a baggy, retro and often knitted style seemingly his preference. The Dane doesn't expect to struggle topping up his wardrobe in Manchester.

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"I think I've found a few (places)," laughed Frokjaer. "I had one shop back home in Denmark, which was pretty much the only shop I used to buy clothes from. So, I've got the number for the guy who owns the shop and I can text him if I want anything from there."

Frokjaer had to wait a while for his partner to gain a visa and travel over to England, so there's been plenty of things to deal with away from North End's camp. In house, though, the Dane couldn't have asked for more from his Preston team mates.

"I think it's a pretty inclusive dressing room," said Frokjaer. "So, I wouldn't say there is one I've connected with more than the others. Of course, it's easy for me and Emil to speak because of the Danish connection. We see each other a bit in private as well and Freddie (Woodman) also lives in Manchester, so it's easy to go for breakfast or something with him. To be fair, it's just a good dressing room. Everyone speaks well to each other and it seems easy to find friendships."

On to talking about the football and Frokjaer has been in and out of Ryan Lowe's starting lineup throughout the campaign. He wants to start every match, like any footballer, but respects the manager's decisions. England's second tier has not surprised Frokjaer a great deal. He knows the work that's required for him to succeed here, even if it isn't how he likes the game to be played.

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"Nah, it is different," said Frokjaer. "The quality is different, but it's more the football. It is more chaotic. The way you play over here, most of the coaches back home would probably scream at you because there's no control of the game. It is back and forth. But, every time you try to stand on the ball, you can feel spectators going like 'go forward'. So, in that sense it's different but other than that, the level back home is pretty good I would say. It's just more back and forth and higher tempo. I think my expectations have become reality. I know you have to run a lot.

"The high speed running especially, so you don't really have time to stand and take a breather. It is back and forth for 90 minutes with a game every third day, in December. So, it's just get your legs going and, yeah, run. I feel more comfortable now. The first few weeks maybe, I felt like every training session or match, after ten minutes I was a bit tired. But now, it's normal for me and if I went back home and played a game, I'd probably say it was a bit slow. So yeah, you just have to get a few months to learn the tempo and then you go."

One thing Frokjaer isn't doing is looking too far ahead. His technical ability, creative touch and flair has been proven in various games, with the potential of North End's number 10 undoubtedly exciting. While the 24-year-old may be a long-term asset for the football club, he's focused very much on the here and now.

"Yeah, to be fair," said Frokjaer. "This is my first move abroad ever, so for me it's just going out there and trying to get into the starting lineup every week. And if I can manage to do that for a whole season or two seasons then of course, at some point, everybody has dreams. But, I am very happy here and the way we are going, we can only dream about big things."

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