Sorensen reveals how he trained for Manchester United before Sunderland move


Former Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen has revealed that he had a successful trial for Manchester United prior to moving to the Stadium of Light.

Now retired, the Dane spent more than 15 seasons in the Premier League, enjoying spells at Sunderland, Aston Villa and Stoke City before ultimately hanging up his gloves in Australia's A-League with Melbourne City. 

He also made more than 100 appearances at international level as Peter Schmeichel's successor in the Denmark net, representing his nation at two World Cup finals in 2002 and 2010. 

He might also have gone on to become Schmeichel's heir too at Old Trafford after impressing during a short stint with the Red Devils.

"In 1997, in December, Peter Schmeichel had organised for me to go for a week's training with Manchester United," Sorensen told the What the Falk! podcast.

"I had a great experience and then they invited me back in February."

It was Sunderland, however, that plucked Sorensen from relative obscurity to line up at the Stadium of Light, and the goalkeeper admits the club were somewhat of an unknown quantity to him.

"During that summer when I joined Sunderland I actually held talks with Ajax Amsterdam and there were a few Danish players at Udinese in Italy," he added.

"They had a good eye for Danish players so I actually had a meeting with them in Copenhagen.

"I was playing for Svendborg in what would be the Championship, the Danish second division, and Tony Coton came across twice.

Stoke City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen

"I didn't think much of it because, especially the first game, we were playing in more or less a field with some barriers around it. A typical non-league stadium with maybe about 100 people watching.

"I thought: 'We've got people from England watching this. Surely they can't be too impressed?'

"The season came to an end and my agent mentioned Sunderland and, to be fair, I hadn't really kept an eye on what was going on in Sunderland.

"I knew they had been in the Premier League but in Denmark the main focus is on Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United and all the big teams.

"They just said: 'Go and have a look at it and maybe you will like it, maybe you won't'.

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"I met Peter Reid and after half a day I knew that was where I wanted to be. I loved the passion and they actually showed me the semi-final against Sheffield United to show me the atmosphere.

"That half a day sold it to me. I wanted to be given a chance and it wasn't the Premier League so it wasn't an impossible step.

"Peter Reid was willing to give me a shot and that was all I wanted. I wanted a chance to cement myself and it was really a no-brainer."