Ex-Barnsley FC captain Mads Andersen on why his move to Premier League side Luton Town was no surprise + his thoughts on a 'rollercoaster' and 'educational' time at League One club
Andersen signed on at Kenilworth Road on the back of an outstanding final season at Barnsley, which saw him named in the EFL League One Team of the Season and almost secure an instant return to the Championship following relegation, only for Sheffield Wednesday to break Reds' hearts at Wembley.
The Dane admits that he did not want to initially play in the third tier with Barnsley, only to have a change of heart.
Speaking to Danish news and sport portal SpilXperten in his homeland, he said: "I have to admit that I thought, why should I go down and play in League 1?
"I had done so well, and there was also interest from elsewhere, but a transfer didn't happen. It just wasn't meant to be for me at that time."
"After that, I had an incredibly good season in League One, where I also made it to the Team of the Year. So, I've done really well over here, and Luton has also shown interest before.
"I attended Luton's match (play-off final) against Coventry, knowing they were interested in me. I thought, okay, if they can get promoted, there could definitely be an opportunity here.
"So, no, once again, this transfer didn't come as a surprise at all."
Andersen's rise to the Premier League has boosted the profile of the 25-year-old, who has been a very consistent figure during the past three seasons in the EFL after a difficult first year at Oakwell in the Covid-interrupted 2019-20.
The centre-half overcame those early issues and his name is sure to be on the radar of Danish international selectors if his progress continues.
He commented: "There are many Danes who don't know how good I am. I believe there are many who don't know how well I did in the Championship.
"The first season in the Championship was undoubtedly tough. It was a new league, so different from the Superliga (in Denmark) because there's much more power and intensity. The Superliga may be technically stronger, but there are so many talented players in the Championship.
"Personally, I think my first season at Barnsley was decent, but I received a lot of hate from outside, but it probably only benefited me."
"In the second season at Barnsley, I had completely adapted, and I played almost every possible match. I played in more than 50 matches and made it to the WhoScored Team of the Year, where I was also ranked fifth in their power rankings.
"So, I was in the top five alongside players like Ivan Toney and Emiliano Buendia. I was the highest-ranked defender on the list, which shows that I did incredibly well.
"The third season was a bit tricky because I was injured for the first 16 matches, during which the team also lost a lot of games. Then I came back, got the captain's armband in the winter, and played full time.
"Unfortunately, we didn't survive because the start was simply poor. We lost far too many matches and got relegated.
"It ended up being fine, but it wasn't something I wanted at the beginning when we got relegated. I might as well be honest about that.
"I felt like I had done incredibly well in the Championship, so suddenly having to play in League 1 felt a bit strange to me. But I actually got a lot out of it, and I wouldn't have missed it.
"It was a rollercoaster in Barnsley, but it was incredibly educational.
"But of course, I'm happy that I could now take two steps up, so I'm now on the top shelf in football."