England and Harlequins full-back Mike Brown explains how Peter Schmeichel has influenced his rugby career…
“Peter Schmeichel was a massive hero of my mine growing up, watching him win the Treble and lift the Champions League as captain on that famous night in Barcelona. He had such a presence in goal and, as a young goalkeeper at that time, I always tried to copy the way he dived at defenders’ feet. I took a few kicks to the face - but I reckon that prepared me for a career in rugby!
“He was an incredible shot-stopper, too. Myself and Danny Care play a game when we are warming up where we just blast balls at each other to see if we can save them. Although it’s a bit of fun, it came in handy during the Six Nations when Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll tried to kick past me and my instincts kicked in, allowing me to catch the ball with ‘The Schmeichel’ dive. Obviously, as full-back, I’m the last line of defence so I have to do everything I can to stop the ball from going behind me.
“Unbelievably, Peter saw my save on TV and recorded a special video message for me, saying that he was proud to be my inspiration and that he will follow my career from now on. It was an incredible gesture and I couldn’t believe it. It’s slightly daunting to know that you’re favourite player is watching you, but hopefully I can produce many more saves that will catch his eye.”