Lasse Schöne (26) is one of the six Danes at Ajax. With fellow countrymen Christian Eriksen, Nicolai Boilesen, Viktor Fischer, Christian Poulsen and Lucas Andersen, he is part of Ajax‘s Danish clan. Leading up to PEC Zwolle – Ajax, Schöne talks about his first few months in Amsterdam. It’s a monologue from a ‘dutchified’ Dane.
SCHÖNE OR SCHØNE?
“There are two dots on the o in my own passport, but in there’s a line through it in my parents’ passports. I registered as Schöne when I applied for my new passport a couple of years ago. Originally it’s an umlaut, because the name is German. My grandfather’s father was a German who moved to Denmark. On my Danish national team jerseys, it says Schøne at the back. I don’t mind either way, it’s not that interesting to me. But I’ve come across people who make a big issue out of it. They really want it to be written the same way everywhere.”
“I was transfer-free last summer and that’s a good position to be in, especially in the current economic climate. Clubs are all looking for good players, but don’t always have the funds to pay transfer fees. There was quite a bit of interest, from abroad also. But when Ajax called and we had a conversation, it was clear pretty quickly: I wanted to go to Ajax. Of course I had no guarantee that I’d actually play here. Nobody does. Frank de Boer told me in no uncertain terms in the meeting I had with him: “We had a very good group, in which everyone has a realistic chance, but with me, only the best will play.” That was good to hear. It’s not really credible if you’re told at the start of the season that you’ll play twenty games no matter what. You can never promise that.”
“I was still very young when I moved to The Netherlands from Denmark, just 16 years old. Heerenveen wanted me. My parents had mixed feelings about it. My mother wasn’t happy about it in the beginning, and my father’s approach was more like “if this is what you really want, then you should do it and we’ll support you”. I’m not adventurous by nature, but I’m always open for new things. And in the end, you’re chasing a dream. Another thing that was a factor in my decision to go was that I would go to a host family at that time. They were amazing people, with whom I still have a good relationship. The Netherlands has become a kind of second home country for me. I met my girlfriend here, and my kids were born here. I’m so Dutch now that I don’t even have Danish TV at home.”
“I’ve been with the national team for two years now non-stop, sort of like the twelfth man. During my debut against Chile, I scored as a substitute after being on the field for barely twenty seconds. I went to the European Championships in June. I played fifteen minutes against The Netherlands, in Christian Eriksen’s spot. And a few minutes against Portugal. But I didn’t get called up last time. I didn’t get an explanation, either. My name simply wasn’t there anymore. Of course that’s a shame. I would think that I’m playing for a bigger club now, and I’ll only get better from playing at a higher level, and I’d take that with me to the national team. It’s to everyone’s advantage. But anyway, I’m hoping to get there again by showing great stuff with Ajax.”