Being Europe's most wanted 15 year old footballer

Top clubs want the best players available. This can mean even school kids are on their radar. Back in 1999, one Premier League giant went out to get Europe's hottest schoolboy, whatever the cost! Mads Timm reveals what it is like to be REALLY wanted by the biggest clubs in the world.




Back in 1992, Denmark was the surprise package of the European Championships in Sweden. That success started a revival of hope for the youth of Danish football.


Michael_Laudrup_playing_for_Real_Madrid_runs_with_the_ball_football4footballNATIONAL HERO: Michael Laudrup is still one of Denmark's most famous football exports


Before that triumph, the main star of the country had been Michael Laudrup, the supremely talented forward who played for some of Europe's biggest clubs. He found fame in Italy with Juventus & Lazio before playing for Spanish giants Real Madrid & Barcelona along with a stint at Ajax in Holland.


They spoke very good English, had strong work ethics and were seen as solid professionals

football4football-on Scandinavian players


The Premier League


As much as he was a national hero, the rise of the Premier League on TV's around Skandinavia meant eyes were beginning to focus on England. Manchester United back in the '80s had Danish internationals Jesper Olsen and John Siverbeck on the books before anyone else had really looked at that region. When they took an unknown Peter Schmeichel from Brondby, this inspired the football-mad nation even more. 



I didn’t see myself as an amazing player. I was always challenging myself to be perfect

Mads Timm-exclusively to football4football





Denmark and other Scandinavian countries, in general, tended to have similar setups & approaches to the football played in England. Swedes, Norwegians & a few Danish players had already dripped into the various leagues of the UK. For most of the clubs who took these players, it was sound football business.

Eventually, it was no surprise clubs would try and jump the gun. Instead of paying a few million for seasoned pros, they'd try and get in early. International Youth tournaments are rich pickings to see the cream of what Europe as a whole has to offer. Clubs not wanting to get outdone soon sent their scouts & cheque books to the two-week showcases, hoping to entice 'The next big thing'.



Youth football tournament international_youth_football_tournament_football4footballSHOP WINDOW: Top level youth tournaments are great for scouts - top young footballers playing against each other


Bundesliga Über clubs Bayern Munich, Dortmund & Leverkusen were always in attendance along with the Lira laden Serie A giants of AC Milan, Inter & Juventus.

These clubs had already stolen a march on Premier League outfits with a network of recruitment contacts actively in place. Changing times saw Manchester United up their game in the hope of nabbing a bargain. At one such tournament, a 14-year-old from the Danish town of Odense was catching the eye. The player in question was Mads Timm. He was going to be the next star to join the production line of their academy. 



Manchester_United_academy_at_carrington_football4footballACADEMY: The famous Manchester United academy at Carrington


The young Danish boy could play off either foot, pick passes, had good ball mastery but had strength & graft. He modelled his game on his footballing heroes.


Laudrup & Romario were my idols. I used to watch them nearly every night. I loved the way they moved & went about their football

Mads Timm-to football4football


The next step


Having caught the football bug seeing some kids playing in the street on his was way home from school, he fell in love with the game.

As with anything you enjoy, you do it more, and with that more, came progress. Mads was developing a football talent. When selected for the Danish youth team in 1999, he went to an international tournament in Portugal.



What he did at 13 made Monaco sign him on the spot

Watch video


Man of the Match performances against Germany, Sweden and the hosts Portugal put the biggest clubs in Europe on red alert.

Returning to Denmark, you'd have thought Mads would've been on a high. But the youngster wasn't fully aware of what was about to happen.


Mads_Timm_playing_for_Manchester_united_in_the_champions_league_football4footballTHE BIG STAGE: Timm played for Manchester United in the Champions League as a teenager


Mads admits it needed something to break his negative thought process. Well, he needn't have worried. Once back at his family home, things were about to get interesting. The influence of the Premier League would shape the next step in his football future. Progress at Manchester United meant he was training with the first team before long. With hard work rewarded with a few appearances in their illustrious first team followed.


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