Euro 2017: Katrine Veje talks playing abroad

Danish winger looking to finish the group stages with a win over Norway.

Euro 2017: Katrine Veje talks playing abroad
Credit: Getty/Lars Ronborg

Out in the Netherlands, VAVEL talked to Danish attacker and new Montpellier signing, Katerine Veje, about playing around the world and Denmark’s current outing at the European Championship.

Well-travelled

Having already had two spells at Brøndby, a four-year stint at Rosengard and a half year in the NWSL, Veje has been growing and adding to her skill set as long as she’s been playing,

The first time when I moved to Malmö I was very young so I’d didn’t really have the experience but then I got picked up after Rosengård [then LdB Malmö] because I’d been there four years and wanted to try something new. So, I went to Brøndby and they had a project and wanted to win the double and stuff like that – and it was nice to come back to Denmark, to feel at home and live in Copenhagen.

Brondby would still be waiting for Veje when she returned from here half year in North America, the 26-year-old ruing the near 5,000-mile distance from the American west-coast to her Denmark home,

After that I played in America for six months with the [Seattle] Reign, it was a big experience but it was a little too far from home, it took twelve hours to fly back and with the jetlag and everything it was too much. I had an option with the Reign – I signed for two years but after the first six months I could choose if I wanted to go back or not. I was working on my BA at the time and I wanted to finish that but now I’ve got my bachelors and now I’m ready to start over.

With plenty of miles still left on her clock, Veje like so many other female footballers has already taken the first steps into setting up her post-playing career, though she’s not completely sure what she wants to do. She said doing her BA is the best stepping stone she could have.

It’s in media, Danish communication. Something with the media and journalism, I don’t really know but it’s good to have something there for after.

Save the distance and time difference, the winger clearly enjoyed her time in the US, particularly appreciative of the impressive crowds the American league routinely pulls.

It’s a very good league, it’s very quick and technical and I like that. Of course all the fans – that’s something Denmark could learn from the NWSL, there are so many people at games, especially in Portland. It was a very good experience and for sure I’d play there again if it wasn’t so far.”

New surroundings

Never having played in France, the move to current Division 1 Féminine runners-up should be a solid first foray into a European league not based in Scandinavia for Veje, the winger feeling far more at home in the south of France than the north of England.

I went to both Manchester City and Montpellier to look at the facilities and the team and for sure City have awesome facilities but I feel in Montpellier they were warmer off the pitch, they took care of me. You could choose whatever you wanted… they just felt warmer and looked to take care of the player off the pitch too. They have a very good team too and three Swedish players which is nice, in City they only have British players (and Kosovare Asllani).

After a mixed performance Denmark claimed their first win of the tournament in their first match before they lost defensive stalwart, Janni Arnth to a foot fracture, the injury their third to a certain starter since the start of the year. With defensive reinforcements in his ranks, Nils Nielsen swiftly added Mie Leth Jans to the line up to face the Netherlands, the new City signing ruled out of the next game after injuring her ankle and with two yellows shown to young Maja Kildemoes, Nielsen is starting to find defensive substitutes thin on the ground.

We have a good team, it’s good Nils brought some extra defenders,” she laughs, “but I think he will find a plan.”

Whilst Denmark were on top for the first-half they sagged against Belgium after the break, their match against the Netherlands a mirror for their second in which they were clearly second-best to the Oranje before turning it around after the break. A goal down, the chances came and went for the Danes who easily could have taken something from the game and Veje admits the team were left frustrated.

We were disappointed but we had a lot of chances and I felt we could have won that game, we gave away a stupid penalty and I was disappointed but against Norway, we just have to put our chances away and win.

Norwegian test

Whilst their third and final group game isn’t a must-win, the Group A permutations numerous, Denmark will be looking for a full 90 minute performance to take them through to the knock-outs without any hiccups, Norway a tricky opponent.

They have Caroline Graham [Hansen] and Ada Hegerberg and they are very good players so I expect that they are going to find them in the centre and make the chances. We just have to play our game and find each other in the feet and run around the backline and score some goals.

On paper, Group A has always promised plenty of spice and whilst it’s sweet agony for fans to watch Veje recalls she was just happy to miss a couple of the big dogs of European football.

My feeling was it’s okay because we didn’t get Sweden or Germany but after we have played the games… it’s a good group and Belgium beat Norway 2-0 so it’s very tight but we just have to focus on ourselves and do all we can to win the game against Norway.

The games have seen some strong crowds especially for the host nation as well as Belgium who’ve been fortunate enough to play just north of the Belgian-Dutch border, the fans, Veje notes have been highly supportive.

“When we played the Netherlands they were very loud but I felt like they were cheering for us both, like when we did something nice on the pitch they cheered too, it’s not that “we hate you because you’re not from the Netherlands” I feel they support everyone and it feels good.

We have just one statement; get out of the group and then we will talk afterwards about what out next goal is.” 

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