|Full Name:||Thomas Løvendahl Sørensen|
|Date of Birth:||12 June 1976|
|Place of Birth:||Fredericia, Denmark|
|Height:||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
|Current Team:||Stoke City|
|1994–1998||Odense BK||000 (0)|
|1996||→Vejle BK (loan)||006 (0)|
|1997–1998||→Svendborg fB (loan)||050 (0)|
|2003–2008||Aston Villa||139 (0)|
|1993–1997||Denmark U21||001 (0)|
Thomas Løvendahl Sørensen (born 12 June 1976 in Fredericia) is a Danish professional football goalkeeper, who currently plays for Stoke City. He is the starting goalkeeper for the Danish national team, the successor to the legendary Peter Schmeichel, and he has played more than 70 matches for his country. He has no major honours to his name, but did start for his country at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2004 European Championship tournaments.
BiographySørensen first came into the spotlight when playing youth football at Odense BK. He debuted for the Danish under-21 national team in September 1993, 17 years old.
Filling in the gloves He began his professional career at Odense BK's first team in the Danish Superliga championship in 1995. Sørensen initially served as an understudy to club legend goalkeeper Lars Høgh. For the 1996–97 season, he was loaned out to league rivals Vejle BK for six months, where he played six league matches. Once back at Odense he was loaned out again, this time to Svendborg fB in the secondary Danish 1st Division league. He played the remaining season, as well as the full 1997–98 season, at Svendborg.
Hardly anyone outside of Denmark had even heard of the tall and athletic keeper, when English manager Peter Reid bought the 22-year old from Odense for about £510,000 in July 1998. Sørensen was bought to strengthen Reid's Sunderland side, then in the second level league of English football, the then Football League First Division. This move helped Sunderland to promotion for the top flight English Premiership, when Sørensen and his team grabbed the League Championship title in 1999.
Sørensen smashed the club's clean sheet record with 29 clean sheets in the process.
World Cup woesSørensen made his debut for the Danish national team in November 1999, coming on to replace an injured Peter Schmeichel. Sørensen was a reserve keeper for Denmark at Euro 2000, when Peter Schmeichel was at the end of his career. Sørensen gained legendary status in Sunderland in 2001, when he saved a penalty kick from Alan Shearer in the dying moments of the game, to preserve a valuable win over arch rivals and neighbouring club Newcastle United.
For the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign in 2001, he took over the job as goalkeeper and helped Denmark qualify. Sørensen was then instrumental, as Denmark won their first round group ahead of Senegal, Uruguay and defending World Cup champions France to book a second round clash against England. However, in the pouring rain at Niigata, Sørensen conceded three goals, one of them an embarrassing blunder, as he bundled the ball into his own goal from a Rio Ferdinand header in the fifth minute. England went on to win the match 3–0.
Sunderland to Aston VillaBack in England, Sunderland were struggling both on and off the pitch and Sørensen could not save the club from relegation in 2003. Reid had already been sacked, and as a result of the club's mounting financial worries, Sunderland sold Sørensen for £2 million to Aston Villa, who had held off interest from a handful of other clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal. He played nearly 200 games on Wearside for Sunderland.
Once again representing his country in an international tournament, Sørensen played in all his country's games at 2004 European Championship (Euro 2004), gathering the official man of the match award after both the 0–0 draw with Italy and the 2–0 victory against Bulgaria. Despite his efforts, Denmark was once more eliminated in a 3–0 loss, this time to the Czech Republic in the quarter finals.
At Aston Villa, Sørensen developed a reputation as a good, if somewhat eccentric, goal keeper. While generally a consistent goalkeeper, he was known to make high profile, highly noticeable errors, on an infrequent basis. Despite this, Sørensen's ability as a shot stopper allowed him to retain his place as Villa's number one under both former boss David O'Leary and current boss Martin O'Neill, ahead of the likes of Stefan Postma and Stuart Taylor.
As of the 2007–08 season he fell out of favour at Villa, since the loan acquisition of Scott Carson from Liverpool, and he stated that he wanted to leave the club.
In January 2008, Sørensen was linked with a £500,000 transfer to Derby County. Nothing came of this deal, possibly because Martin O'Neill needed him as cover, but at the end of the 2007/2008 season, Sørensen's contract at Villa expired and he was released by the club. He failed to make a single appearance for the club in his final season.
After leaving Aston Villa, Thomas was linked with Championship club Ipswich Town, although it was said to be more likely that the keeper wanted to play top-flight football. Therefore, a move back to Denmark may have been on the cards if no Premier League clubs were interested.