Nicolai Boilesen received his first ever invitation last week from the Danish national team. The 19 year old defender is therefore on the eve of his first full season with Ajax, and, most likely, his debut with the Danish national team. The language genius will soon be able to share his experiences in Danish, English, Dutch and Spanish.
As Tom Boere (18) leaves the training field, Nicolai Boilesen seems like the perfect target for questions. The rookie asks his former A1 team mate where he can leave his tunic with measuring equipment. Boilesen, who is now used to the drill, shows the Jong Ajax forward where to go. Four months ago, the Dane was the new guy himself at the practice, but in the meantime, his status has grown.
For the first time, he has completed a full preparation season with Ajax 1, except for a late start. Due to the European Cup U-21, he joined the team two weeks late. In the meantime, he has caught up on his training, according to him. “I noticed in the beginning that I was a bit behind the other players who had already been back for half a month, but I’m now completely ready for the new season. I’m really looking forward to it; I can’t wait for it to start.”
Based on his new jersey number, Boilesen seems to be getting closer to the first team. He’s swapped number 32 for number 15. “That number isn’t special for me, but it’s nice to get a ‘lower’ number. My favourite number is 5, but that’s Vurrie’s (Vurnon Anita’s) number.” And with a smile: “Actually, I do have number 5, but with a 1 in front of it.”
Just like fellow Dane Christian Eriksen, Boilesen speaks fluent Dutch. The language lessons are already far behind him. “When I came to the Netherlands, I took Dutch lessons for two months. After that, I got my diploma, and have been speaking Dutch almost daily. I speak Dutch so much now that it takes me a minute to switch over when someone speaks to me in Danish.” But for the coming week, he’ll be able to immerse himself in his mother tongue once again if he is allowed to report to the national team for the first time. Denmark plays a practice interland against Scotland on Wednesday. “Being selected for the Danish national team is a dream come true. I dreamed of that as a young boy. It would be amazing if I can report to Copenhagen next week. In any case, it would be a few days of speaking Danish.”
In the meantime he has, just like countryman Eriksen, learned Spanish. “Language lessons are a great distraction from football. I also want to use my brain. It helps my general development. When I left Denmark, I couldn’t finish high school. From the Netherlands, I’ve tried to finish it via internet, but it didn’t work out. The Spanish lessons compensate for that a bit.”
What’s striking with Boilesen is that, despite his young age, he has a central role among the players. “I’m someone who enjoys taking the lead and getting along with all of the guys. That’s part of me. I also love a good laugh. It’s a good way to spend time together during the breaks around the practices and the matches. I naturally give one hundred percent in training. I’m always serious when I need to be.”