Tomasson needs consistency to capture record

By Philip O'Connor

COPENHAGEN, May 20 - Well-travelled Danish captain Jon Dahl Tomasson has mixed barren spells on the bench for Stuttgart, Newcastle and Villarreal with Champions League and UEFA Cup glory at AC Milan and Feyenoord.

If Denmark are to progress from Group E, they will need a major contribution from a forward known for his guile as much as his goals.

Never the quickest player, the 33-year-old Tomasson still has an impressive scoring record at international level and his tally of 51 goals, at just under one every two games, is one shy of Poul Nielsen's Danish record.

Tomasson's erratic club form has extended to the national team. His six goals in seven games helped Denmark to qualify for Euro 2000 but he failed to score at the finals. Two years later at the World Cup finals he scored four times.

It would be easy to dismiss Tomasson's achievements in the less physically demanding environment of Dutch football had he not signed in 2002 for AC Milan where he added Serie A and Champions League winners' medals to the UEFA Cup and Dutch first division honors he won with Feyenoord.

For every fine run of form, however, there has been a counter-balancing period of frustration.

Having established himself during two seasons at Heerenveen, Tomasson moved to Newcastle in 1997 but his slight stature was not suited to the physical English game.

He struggled to adapt and was dropped by the national team, missing the 1998 World Cup. He left Newcastle for Feyenoord in 1998, returned to form and regained his place in the Danish squad.

(Editing by Clare Fallon and Robert Woodward)