In honor of the Danish WNT match against Malta today, here are some interesting parts of the interview put out last week by the Danish football federation (DBU) podcast with Pernille Harder. The interview can be found [here](https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/landsholdslejren/live-fra-lejren-pernille-hgLdOXcnQ36/) for any other Danish speakers here!
About playing at Chelsea with her girlfriend Magda Eriksson
PH: It’s very natural for us [to play together], we did it earlier [at Linköpings] and we’re very professional when we go to work. We’re colleagues, and when we get home, we put behind us everything that happened at work, and then we’re partners again.
Interviewer: Can you do that? She’s a defender, so you’ve probably been in situations where she did a leg-breaking tackle on you, as partners can you put that behind you?
PH: Yeah, we’re good at it. When it happens, we might get mad – I can definitely get mad at her for some crazy tackle on me – but then we’re calm about it after, we get everything out, and then we move on from it.
Interviewer: And as she’s the captain, she’s a bit higher up in the hierarchy than you, does that mean anything?
PH: It doesn’t mean anything. I’m fine with it. She also isn’t someone who lets the power go to her head – she’s good at listening to every player, so I don’t have any problem with it. It’s ok.
Interviewer: Was Magda involved in getting you to Chelsea? Did she whisper in the manager’s ear about how good Pernille is, talk about how cool it would be?
PH: No, she didn’t do that. Indirectly, and that’s how I became interested in the club, because she spoke so well of it, but it’s not like she was talking to the coach or the sporting director and said, hey, you should go get Pernille. Luckily it was their own decision.
Interviewer: It could be really cool to have a hypeman! I know you’ve only played two matches so far, but when you’re playing away, is it maybe obvious that you’d room together? Are there any advantages to being a couple?
PH: As I said, when we’re with the team, we’re colleagues. We don’t need to be roomies.
About her start at Chelsea
PH: I’ve only had a week’s training, but I was pretty fit and it was to be expected. Everyone has been really nice and sweet to me, so it’s been really cool. I’m just looking forward to getting more into it, more training, more matches – but also just London itself, that’s not bad.
Interviewer: That’s not bad. You also seem to have settled in quite easily, as a few days ago when you took the field against Bristol, you scored! You scored…two times?
PH: One time, and two assists.
Interviewer: Well done! You scored with your heel?
PH: Yeah, it was my heel. It was great to get the first goal. Sometimes, when you come to a new club, everyone expects you to score goals, so it’s nice when it comes relatively quickly and doesn’t become something that just hangs over your head. It was also nice that it happened that way; it was instinctive that I took it with my heel, since the ball was a bit behind me so it was kind of a last resort to get my heel on it.
About women’s football in England
PH: Wolfsburg is a top club, really good club, and me leaving wasn’t because of anything bad about Wolfsburg, I just wanted to try something new. I think the English league has more parity among the top half of the table. The top 5-6 teams have good competition. Of course, because the top teams are so strong, you’ll get some results like the 9-0 against Bristol. But in Germany, there are 2-3 teams that are good – Bayern and Wolfsburg. So many of the matches, the opponents just kind of lay down immediately. In England, every team wants to play. Some of them maybe shouldn’t [laughs], but it’s cool for me that they all want to. And it’s great that there’s a lot of space for me to do what I want.
Interviewer: The English league is progressing well, especially with regards to salaries. How do you see the league’s teams in an international perspective with respect to playing in Europe, in the Champions League?
PH: Historically, the English teams haven’t been the best in Champions League. I think that in the future they will be. The competition is getting stronger, more matches are being played at a high level, and that will develop the teams. There are also a lot of high profiles coming over now too, from the US and English players coming back to the English league, so I think the English teams will go far.
Interviewer: What happened in England to cause so many teams to suddenly prioritize women’s teams, when they didn’t necessarily do that a decade ago?
PH: In the beginning, 5 years ago, you started seeing interest in women’s football, and then then I think there’s a competition in itself over there, because the Premier League teams wanted to have good women’s teams and started putting money into them. So they got a good setup around the teams, and there’s a lot of players who want to go there.
About women’s football in Denmark
Interviewer: This next question is about women’s football and development more generally. It’s from a fan who has lived in the US for the last twenty years and says that when she moved there, she was very impressed at how much recognition women’s football got, more in fact than men’s football. Is interest in Denmark and Europe growing?
PH: Yes, it’s growing a lot, especially the last 5 years. Back home in Denmark it grew with Euro 2017, and in Europe there are so many clubs that are starting to rate women’s football. You can see it with all the Danish players we have out in Europe now – Italy, Spain, England, France, Germany. Almost all the big leagues. So a lot is happening and a lot more will come in the next 5 years.
Interviewer: How do you think women’s football in Denmark is doing? Where do you think the league is right now?
PH: Because there’s so much happening in Europe, there are a lot of players that leave young. So you could say that the Danish league gets worse because of that. But it opens it up for more young players who can come and play early on their teams, take a lot of responsibility, so in that respect you can see the Danish league as more of a development league. I see that as a positive. You can see that Nordsjælland has gotten into it, HB Køge, so there’s a bit happening, but of course more could be happening.
Interviewer: Do you think that in the future, women’s football could gain as much awareness and popularity as men’s football in Denmark?
PH: I don’t know. It’s so hard to compare men’s football, because it’s been around for so much longer historically, while women’s football was banned for 50 years in England, and it was similar in the rest of Europe. So, historically speaking, it’s hard to compare because men’s football is so huge. But it’s good that we are striving for it, women’s football is growing, awareness is growing, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger. So I hope that it could get just as big.
Interviewer: And now you’ve tried some different things, you lived in Sweden, which has a whole different culture around women’s football. You lived in Germany, now you’re at Chelsea, where you’ve maybe also learned some things. What do you think we could do in Denmark to build women’s football up?
PH: Of course the clubs need to invest more. Something has to be done with the matches themselves, they need to be made into more of an event. The media has to write a lot about it, which I think they’ve started to do. When you get down to it though, it depends on money. There needs to be money in it. Not just with contracts, but with setup, setup around matches, so they become more of an event.
As a final highlight, Pernille reveals that she plays as #23 because of her Michael Jordan fandom as a child in the 90s. Unfortunately, the interviewer does not ask her what role Space Jam may or may not have played in this decision.