Ipswich Town’s Jonas ‘Mad Dog’ Knudsen has swapped family Christmas in Denmark for a festive feast of football – and he loves it!

Jonas Knudsen about to take a throw-in during the Ipswich Town v Cardiff City match at Portman Road.

Jonas Knudsen about to take a throw-in during the Ipswich Town v Cardiff City match at Portman Road. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town left-back Jonas Knudsen says he is looking forward to the traditional festive feast of football as much as any supporter.

The 24-year-old was used to having a three-month winter break when playing in native Denmark, but says he loved his first experience of a packed Christmas schedule in 2015.

Town host Fulham on Boxing Day (Monday) and then welcome Bristol City to Portman Road on Friday 30th (7.45pm) before travelling to QPR on Saturday, January 2.

“Of course I miss my family at this time of year, but I also love the culture here because it’s all about football,” said the former Esbjerg player.

“Back home we celebrate Christmas on the night of the 24th, then on the 25th I was with my dad’s side of the family, we have some Danish style lunch and play some games, then on the 26th we go to my mum’s side of the family – my nanny will cook some very old style food and we all sit and watch an English game on television.

“Now I am here and experiencing playing at this time of year myself and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Town beat QPR 2-1 at Portman Road on Boxing Day last year, courtesy of a last-gasp Luke Chambers goal, in front of a bumper crowd of 23,615. An attendance of around 19-20k is expected on Monday.

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“I felt how it was last year,” said Knudsen. “People have told me about players trying to get suspended for Christmas in this country. Why else would you be playing football if you didn’t want to play in games like this with bigger crowds and a good atmosphere though? It should be about that passion.”

Knudsen certainly shows that passion on the pitch with the wild celebrations which follow wins.

“I grew up as a football supporter and I know what it feels like to be a fan,” he said. “I just love to win so much and love to celebrate with the fans because they are a big part of it.

“When they are with us, when they are our 12th man, they really help us and give us a better chance to win.

“It’s nice to give a little bit back to them.

“You have to think about who comes to the stadium every week and watches you. If you don’t have that then there is no football.

“My friends play in front of a hundred fans and I get to play in front of thousands. I never forget that.

“I don’t do this because I have to do it, I do it because I like to do it and want to do it. The passion comes over me when we score a goal because I want to win so much.”

Nicknamed ‘Mad Dog’ by his team-mates for his committed approach to the game, he explained: “I think it was Skusey (Cole Skuse) who came up with that.

“At first I couldn’t understand what it meant because my English wasn’t as good, but then I found out and I liked it.

“I’m not the biggest talent in the world, I can say that, so I know I have to work hard and have to win every challenge I go in to. If it’s a small-sided game in training I don’t want to lose that.

“That’s maybe why the lads gave me that name ‘Mad Dog’. Maybe I am a little bit of a different person away from the pitch, but when I go on the pitch though there is just one thing on my mind and that’s winning.”