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Thomas Sorensen

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Thomas Sorensen

Thomas Sørensen
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:00, 13 May 2012 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12:42, 15 October 2011 (UTC)

Thomas Løvendahl Sørensen (born 12 June 1976) is a Danish footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Stoke City.

Sørensen started his career with his local side Odense BK. After impressing on loan at Vejle Boldklub and Svendborg he was signed by English side Sunderland in 1998. After five years as first choice 'keeper on Wearside he joined Aston Villa for £2 million. He was first choice at Villa until a fall out with Martin O'Neill saw him out of the side and he was released in May 2008. He joined Stoke City in June 2008 on a free transfer. He was first choice goalkeeper at Stoke for three seasons helping the club consolidate in the Premier League. He eventually began to lose his place in the side to the younger Asmir Begović and became his back-up.

Between 2000 and 2012, he was the starting goalkeeper for the Denmark national football team, the successor to the legendary Peter Schmeichel, and he played 101 matches for his country. He has no major honours to his name but did start for his country at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, UEFA Euro 2004, and 2010 FIFA World Cup tournaments.

Club career

Early career

Born in Fredericia, Sørensen started playing youth football with local clubs in Erritsø and Assens.[2] He then moved to the youth team of local top-flight club Odense Boldklub. He played in training matches against FC St. Pauli and Werder Bremen in February 1993, and signed a trainee contract with the club.[3] He was soon a professional with Odense BK's first team squad in the Danish Superliga championship. Sørensen served as an understudy to club legend goalkeeper Lars Høgh, and did not play any league games for the club.

During the 1995–96 season, he was loaned out to league rivals Vejle BK in December 1995.[4] Initially an understudy to Erik Boye, he made his Superliga debut in March 1996. Sørensen played three thoroughly impressive games in a row, and the press dubbed him the new Peter Schmeichel.[5] He played six league matches in all for Vejle, including a 6–0 defeat to Brøndby IF, before being dropped by coach Ole Fritsen following a 1–0 defeat to Viborg FF, in which Viborg's Ralf Pedersen headed the ball from Sørensen's hands to score the goal.[6] Sørensen broke his arm in the summer 1996,[7] but continued his loan deal with Vejle until the summer 1997, without playing any more games for the club. Odense then loaned him out again, this time to FC Svendborg in the second-tier Danish 1st Division league,[8] where he played the full 1997–98 season.


In the summer 1998, Sørensen moved abroad to play for English club Sunderland in the Football League First Division, the then second level league of English football. Hardly anyone outside of Denmark had even heard of the tall and athletic keeper,[9] when English manager Peter Reid bought the 22-year old from Odense for about £510,000 in July 1998.[10] Sørensen was bought to replace fan favourite Lionel Pérez who left on a free transfer. This move helped Sunderland to promotion for the top flight English Premiership, when Sørensen and his team grabbed the League Championship title in 1999. Sørensen smashed the club's clean sheet record with 29 clean sheets in the process.[9]

Sørensen established himself as Sunderland's starting goalkeeper in the Premiership, and helped the club finish 7th in both of their two first Premiership seasons. He gained legendary status with Sunderland fans in 2001, when he saved a penalty kick from Alan Shearer in the dying moments of a November 2000 game, to preserve a valuable win over arch rivals and neighbouring club Newcastle United.[11] In the 2002–03 season, Sørensen was injured from October 2002 to January 2003, and only played 21 of 38 games. Sunderland were struggling both on and off the pitch and Sørensen could not save the club from relegation at the end of the season.

Reid had already been sacked, and as a result of the club's mounting financial worries, Sunderland sold Sørensen for £2 million to Aston Villa,[10] who had held off interest from a handful of other clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal. He played nearly 200 games on Wearside for Sunderland and remains a fan favourite.

Aston Villa

At Aston Villa, Sørensen developed his reputation as a good goalkeeper. Sørensen's ability as a shot stopper allowed him to retain his place as Villa's number one under both managers David O'Leary and Martin O'Neill, ahead of the likes of Stefan Postma and Stuart Taylor. In his first three seasons at Aston Villa, he only missed four games. In a November 2003 game against Newcastle, he once again saved an Alan Shearer penalty kick.[12] He suffered a knee injury during the 2006–07 season,[13] but still played 29 games that term.

During the 2007–08 season he fell out of favour at Villa. Sørensen had suffered an injury during the pre-season, and Villa decided to loan in goalkeeper Scott Carson from Liverpool.[14] Carson went on to become the starting goalkeeper, and Sørensen stated that he wanted to leave the club in December 2007.[15] At the end of the 2007–08 season, Sørensen's contract at Villa expired and he left the club on a free transfer.[16] He failed to make a single appearance for the club in his final season as by then he had slipped down to third place in the pecking order behind both Scott Carson and Stuart Taylor.

Stoke City

On 28 July 2008, Sørensen started a trial with newly promoted Stoke City, and two days later, he signed a three-year contract with the club.[17] Sørensen became City's first choice goalkeeper for the 2008–09 season replacing Steve Simonsen. He made a number of important performances as Stoke achieved in a safe position of 12th in their first season in the Premier League. During a match in October 2011 against Tottenham Hotspur he was involved in a clash with Spurs's defender Alan Hutton whose challenge struck Sørensen on his head, Sørensen said he was close to losing his eyesight.[18] Hutton later apologised for his challenge.[19]

He continued to be Stoke's first choice 'keeper in 2009–10 and signed a contract extension in November 2009, to keep him at the Britannia Stadium until 2011.[20] During the 2009–10 season he continued his good form in goal. He saved penalties during games against Portsmouth, Arsenal and Wigan Athletic, and played an important part in Stoke's good run in the Premier League, which brought them to 10th place in December.[21] On 12 December Sørensen saved yet another penalty, meaning he had by then saved five out of the last six penalty kicks against him.[22] Sørensen got extra competition for the spot as Stoke's first-choice goalkeeper, following the signing of Asmir Begović from Portsmouth in February 2010.[23] He dislocated his elbow in a game against Chelsea on 25 April.[24] The elbow was put back in place without the need for surgery, but Sørensen missed the last three games of the 2009–10 season.

After starting the first nine matches of the 2010–11 season Sørensen lost his place to Begović.[25] But he played in all the club's FA Cup games, including the FA Cup Final against Manchester City on 14 May 2011 where he put in a good performance despite Stoke City losing 1–0.[26] For the 2011–12 season Sørensen remained as 2nd choice 'keeper to Begović where he plays in the Cup matches as well as in the UEFA Europa League.[27] After some poor performances by Begović, Sørensen was recalled to league matches.[28] In a match against Everton he received mild concussion after a clash with Tim Cahill and had to be stretchered off.[29] However he soon made a quick recovery.[30] He signed a new two and a half-year contract at Stoke in December 2011 keeping him at the club until 2014.[31] After signing his new contract Sørensen stated that he wants to continue playing top flight football after his contract ends.[32] However in 2012–13 Sørensen was restricted to playing in just cup fixtures due to the form of Begović and this coupled with the signing of Jack Butland prompted Sørensen to consider his future at Stoke City.[33] Following the departure of manager Tony Pulis, Sørensen plans to talk with new manager Mark Hughes about his future at the Britannia Stadium.[34]

International career

Sørensen made his international debut with the Danish under-19 national team in April 1993, and was moved into the Danish under-21 national team in September 1993, making his under-21 debut at 17 years of age. He went on to play 24 games for the Denmark under-21s until October 1997. Following his initial impressive form for Vejle, he was called up for an unofficial national team game in April 1996, and replaced Lars Høgh at half-time.

After his move to Sunderland, Sørensen made his debut for the senior Danish national team in November 1999 in a match against Israel, coming on to replace an injured Peter Schmeichel. He was a reserve keeper for Denmark at Euro 2000, when Peter Schmeichel was at the end of his career. For the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in 2001, he took over the job as goalkeeper and helped Denmark qualify. Sørensen was then instrumental, as Denmark won their first round group ahead of Senegal, Uruguay and defending World Cup champions France to book a second round clash against England. However, in the pouring rain at the Niigata Stadium, Sørensen conceded three goals, one of them a mistake by Sørensen,[10] as he bundled the ball into his own goal from a Rio Ferdinand header in the fifth minute. England went on to win the match 3–0.

Once again representing his country in an international tournament, Sørensen played in all his country's games at Euro 2004, gathering the official man of the match award after both the 0–0 draw with Italy and the 2–0 victory against Bulgaria. Despite his efforts, Denmark was once more eliminated in a 3–0 loss, this time to the Czech Republic in the quarter finals.

During the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Denmark faced Sweden at Råsunda Stadium in Stockholm. Sweden was awarded a penalty in the tenth minute, which Sørensen saved as Denmark went on to win the game 1–0. Sørensen missed three qualification matches through injury, yet Denmark still qualified for the 2010 World Cup with one match to go. Sørensen's elbow injury put his chance of appearing in his second World Cup in doubt,[24] but Denmark coach Morten Olsen included him in the final squad, and on regaining full fitness Sørensen was named the starting goalkeeper for his second World Cup campaign, and played full-time in Denmark's three games at the tournament.

He reached the landmark of 100 international caps in March 2012.[35] On 26 May 2012, in a friendly against Brazil at Hamburg's Imtech Arena. Sørensen had to be substituted for an injury in the 24th minute[36] which led to his withdrawal from Denmark's squad for UEFA Euro 2012.[37][38]

On 7 August 2012, after making 101 appearances for Denmark, he announced his retirement from international football.[39]

Personal life

Sørensen grew up supporting Odense BK and cites Lars Høgh as his role model. He married Maria Borring in Svendborg, Denmark on 16 June 2001. Thomas and Maria have two children: Marcus and Celine.[40]

Career statistics


As of match played 29 October 2013[41]
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Odense BK 1994–95 Danish Superliga 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1995–96 Danish Superliga 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Vejle (loan) 1995–96 Danish Superliga 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
1996–97 Danish Superliga 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Svendborg (loan) 1997–98 Danish 1st Division 45 0 0 0 0 0 45 0
Total 45 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 45 0
Sunderland 1998–99 First Division 45 0 2 0 9 0 56 0
1999–2000 Premier League 37 0 2 0 0 0 39 0
2000–01 Premier League 34 0 4 0 4 0 42 0
2001–02 Premier League 34 0 1 0 0 0 35 0
2002–03 Premier League 21 0 4 0 0 0 25 0
Total 171 0 13 0 13 0 0 0 197 0
Aston Villa 2003–04 Premier League 38 0 1 0 6 0 45 0
2004–05 Premier League 36 0 1 0 2 0 39 0
2005–06 Premier League 36 0 4 0 3 0 43 0
2006–07 Premier League 29 0 0 0 2 0 31 0
2007–08 Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 139 0 6 0 13 0 0 0 158 0
Stoke City 2008–09 Premier League 36 0 0 0 0 0 36 0
2009–10 Premier League 33 0 5 0 0 0 38 0
2010–11 Premier League 10 0 7 0 0 0 17 0
2011–12 Premier League 16 0 1 0 2 0 7 0 26 0
2012–13 Premier League 0 0 3 0 1 0 4 0
2013–14 Premier League 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 0
Total 95 0 16 0 6 0 7 0 124 0
Career total 456 0 35 0 32 0 7 0 527 0


As of 13 July 2012[42]

Denmark national team
Year Apps Goals
1999 1 0
2000 1 0
2001 8 0
2002 11 0
2003 10 0
2004 12 0
2005 10 0
2006 6 0
2007 11 0
2008 6 0
2009 9 0
2010 6 0
2011 8 0
2012 2 0
Total 101 0


Stoke City
  • North East Football Writers' Player of the Year: 2001


External links

  • Thomas Sørensen profile at
  • Soccerbase
  • Danish national team profile
  • Premier League profile
  • BBC profile
  • Thomas Sørensen fansite
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