MADS Andersen believes Barnsley fans saw a different version of him on Monday from the player he was when supporters were last allowed in stadiums.
The 23-year-old Danish centre-back admits he found last season ‘difficult’ after moving away from home and playing in a relegation-battling team, but this season he has been among the Reds’ best performers as they qualified for the play-offs.
He enjoyed playing in front of fans again on Monday evening despite the 1-0 loss to Swansea City in the first leg of the play-off semi-final.
Andersen told the Chronicle: “Since the fans were last here, I have grown a lot as a footballer but also as a person.
“I hope they see that.
“You can see the fans have followed us all season and enjoyed it.
“It was great to be back with the fans on Monday. They were amazing.
“I told Michal (Helik) after the game that I kind of forgot how it was when you run out and all these fans are cheering. You get goosebumps.
“We were sad we didn’t get the result we wanted. We played a good second half and we can bring that to the next game.”
Andersen started all 46 Championship matches this season – the first Reds outfielder to do so in a second tier campaign since Nicky Eaden in 1996/97 – as the only minutes he missed were after a red card at Reading in September, which led to a ban for the EFL Cup tie at Chelsea.
“I am very thankful for that. It’s been a good experience to play that many games in a season like this.
“I am very very happy.”
Andersen has repeatedly said he is targeting a call-up to the Denmark squad. They are yet to announce their 26-man party for Euro 2020 but the Barnsley man has never been called up at any level. He said: “It’s a dream of mine to play for my national team and I will work for it.
“I haven’t really thought about Euro 2020, right now my focus is on Barnsley and these massive games.
“It’s a massive opportunity for us and we’ll do everything we can do to win. They are the biggest games of my career.”
Andersen has one goal and five assists for the Reds this season.
He said: “I wanted some more goals but I keep working and hopefully I can contribute on Saturday.”