Ipswich Town players have dubbed Jonas Knudsen ‘Mad Dog’

Jonas Knudsen celebrates after the final whistle at Brighton. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Jonas Knudsen celebrates after the final whistle at Brighton. Photo: PAGEPIX LTD

Jonas Knudsen knew he had become accepted as an Ipswich Town player the moment his team-mates started calling him ‘Mad Dog’.

The 23-year-old Danish international was signed from Esbjerg in the summer, Blues boss Mick McCarthy activating a buy-out clause of around £350,000.

To hit the ground running was a big ask. He had never lived outside of his home town before and, all of a sudden, he was in another country and playing a completely different style of football.

In addition he had big boots to fill given the success stories of Town’s previous two left-backs – Aaron Cresswell and Tyrone Mings.

His early form was understandably up and down, but the affable full-back won the hearts of supporters and team-mates alike with his impassioned on-field gestures and clear desire to improve.

“It’s a challenge to become integrated with a new team,” said Knudsen, speaking to regional Danish paper Ugeavisen Esbjerg.

“People can be very friendly but you will only be accepted when you show your worth on the football field, in combat or training.

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“That what I have tried to do. I have tried to show everyone that I am a winner. It took a few weeks and then there were some who began to call me “Mad Dog” because I get stuck in and because I show more passion than many others.”

Knudsen’s girlfriend has now moved to England, while direct flights from Stansted to Esbjerg enabled him to go home for a day in the week leading up to Christmas. He is increasingly feeling settled and it is no coincidence that his performances are becoming more consistent as a result.

“I had to get used to a style of play that is 10 to 15% faster than home and where opponents are coming at you fast in counter-attacks,” he explained.

“I feel I am getting used to that now.

“And the fact that my family and friends can get here quite quickly is also important. That’s helped me. I’m really enjoying it.”

Blues boss McCarthy, whose side host League Two outfit Portsmouth in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, said: “Jonas has been a great lad. He’s really tough, he gets forward, he plays football, he can defend.

“I see players coming into this country from Holland, from Sweden and from other places and let me tell you it’s a different ball game to what they are used to. I think for somebody who has just walked in the door he’s fitted in brilliantly. I’m delighted with him.”