A game England could do without?
This may be Denmark v England but the underlying theme of this friendly is most certainly Club v Country.
With a game Fabio Capello dare not lose, the key qualifier against Wales in the cauldron of Cardiff looming into view and England desperately in need of confidence after a deflating draw against Montenegro and an insipid defeat by France in the last two matches of last year, this mid-season foray to Copenhagen does genuinely matter.
As Capello says, this is an "important moment" for England. Jack Wilshere, 19, will make his full debut for the national side and, from this point on, will be the focal point for the team, along with Liverpool's 22-year-old forward Andy Carroll, who is currently injured.
Nor should England take Denmark lightly. The last time they turned up here, manager Sven-Goran Eriksson made the usual changes at half-time and his team were subsequently hammered 4-1.
England's squad has been hit by withdrawals. Photo - Getty
The Danes are dangerous, full of familiar faces intent on making a point, and defeat would merely confirm the prevailing view that a full seven months on from Bloemfontein, England are still struggling to shake off their World Cup hangover, and move forward.
And yet despite the 2,500 away fans expected in the imposing Parken Stadium, there is a sense that this is a game that England could simply do without.
Maybe it is the number of late withdrawals, leaving Capello with a barely fit Frank Lampard as his third-choice captain, Fulham's rarely-used David Stockdale as his deputy goalkeeper and little-known Kyle Walker as the country's understudy at right-back. Not only that, the Italian has also been forced to send for Carlton Cole from bottom of the table West Ham.
Stuart Pearce has had it even worse. The England Under-21 manager had to cope with 11 withdrawals ahead of the 1-0 defeat by Italy on Tuesday night, leaving him to bemoan the scheduling of club matches.
In the senior ranks, players like Lampard, John Terry and Glen Johnson had one day to recover from Sunday's Premier League match between Chelsea and Liverpool, followed by one day of training with England before the match on Wednesday night. How can new teams be moulded and systems established with just one day of proper preparation? Capello must despair.
Perhaps instead, it was simply the number of goals scored in the Premier League last weekend, which only served to reinforce the prevailing view that club not country is now king when it comes to players' priorities.
World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst this week questioned whether wearing the three lions matters as much to players now as it once did - and he is almost certainly right to do so.
But with Champions League matches around the corner, title races to be won and relegation battles to be fought, is it any surprise that an international against Denmark, with no points at stake, is seen by some as, well, pointless?
At Anfield, they have not forgotten when Steven Gerrard got injured late in the game on England duty against France despite a loose agreement he would be substituted earlier.
Capello was branded "amateurish, incompetent and disgraceful" by the club's fitness instructor for having the audacity to ask his stand-in skipper to stay on the pitch for longer than an hour. And that was England v France at Wembley. Hurst must listen and struggle to take it all in.
Capello has likened Wilshere (centre) to Franco Baresi, Paulo Maldini and Raul
While England left their Hertfordshire base and flew to Copenhagen, in Westminster, the former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman sat in front of a Parliamentary inquiry into football governance and accused the Premier League clubs of being too powerful.
As he did so, in Geneva, the European Club Association (the lobby group for the continent's most powerful clubs), met and issued a stark warning that the international football calendar was already too busy and that players should be released for no more than one tournament per year.
It means the likes of Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Wilshere could have to choose between representing England at the European Championships (if England qualify) or the once-in-a-lifetime experience of playing for a Great Britain side at the London Olympics.
It could become a huge dilemma but clubs pay players millions of pounds a year and can hardly be blamed for wanting to protect their prized assets.
It is against this backdrop that Capello must somehow operate in Copenhagen. Rather than a sense of excitement about whether the post-South Africa talents of Joe Hart, Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Ashley Young and Darren Bent can gel, or whether revenge can be gained against Denmark for the debacle of 2005, instead this game will be played amid a debate over whether such meaningless friendlies are still appropriate at all.
Amid talk of the slow death of the international fixture. Amid FA fears that another Premier League club might be alienated over the injury of a player. Amid a much greater sense of excitement at the best weekend of club football for years and some truly mouth-watering Champions League fixtures next week. David Bernstein, in Copenhagen on his first official trip as the FA's new chairman, would be forgiven for wondering why he bothered.
Capello and his captain said all the right things at their pre-match news conferences. There was no doubting the pride with which Lampard will wear the armband. As he counts down the days on his torturous England tenure, Capello once again wearily moaned about the lack of a winter break and the small pool of English Premier League players he has to pick from, although he generally toed the line.
The players did still care, he insisted. The clubs did still co-operate, he promised. The withdrawals were genuine injuries, he sighed. But at the same time the manager is a realist. He must try to keep the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti and Arsene Wenger sweet. A full six substitutes will be used, he confirmed. Box ticked.
This may be first opportunity of the year to lay down a marker, with an exciting new young player anchoring the midfield and a proud new captain giving his all. It may be played after a new spirit of co-operation between the FA and Premier League was announced over the issue of youth development.
The game will be watched by the FA's new head of elite development, Gareth Southgate, whose job is to smooth relationships with the clubs over the release of players. But the recurring theme of balancing the interests of club and country resonates louder than ever.