The clubs will not accept the proposition for an instant, but this was an England friendly of some merit. Apart from the recovery from 1-0 down to win with a goal from the substitute Ashley Young, it was of value to see players unaccustomed to appearing together discovering that they could develop a rapport. No one was listless, even with no points at stake.
The first half might have been a determined effort to rehabilitate the international friendly as a respectable fixture. The major clubs around Europe who resented the used of this date cannot be appeased, but the 25,235 spectators turned out to have spent their money wisely. In the first four minutes there were two chances.
Nicklas Bendtner cut inside before shooting wide and when a Darren Bent effort was parried by Thomas Sorensen the loose ball was collected by Wayne Rooney, who went round the Stoke City goalkeeper before seeing his finish blocked by Matthias Jorgensen. Fabio Capello had made a little contribution to this by fielding two genuine forwards, Rooney and Bent. Neither really attempted to fit in extra work as an auxiliary midfielder.
There was a desire to see if some of these England players were ready to express themselves. A second cap for Jack Wilshere was also the 19-year-old's first start and he showed confidence while producing his usual deftness. There was much to be appreciated, except by connoisseurs of defending.
If Capello was at all light-hearted, which seems unlikely, he would have been restored to his brooding self by the opener, which came in the eighth minute. Daniel Agger got in front of Frank Lampard to head Christian Eriksen's header past Joe Hart. Fallibility was all-pervasive when organised resistance was attempted. No matter what Capello or his opposite number, Morten Olsen, might have thought, this was a match to be relished for its occasionally slapdash quality.
The attacking was much more persuasive than the defending. England were level in the 10th minute. The Denmark left-back Simon Poulsen looked mesmerised for no apparent reason as Theo Walcott turned away from him to hit a low cross that Bent knocked in for his second international goal.
Openings came too readily for the satisfaction of either coach and Capello's men were not secure. That was caused in part by the manager's decision not to have a natural defensive midfielder until Gareth Barry's introduction in place of Wilshere at the start of the second half. Lampard and Rooney also left the field and the match was drained of a little of its vitality.
On the night when Ashley Cole became his country's most-capped left-back, with an 87th appearance, he also inherited the armband that had been worn by Lampard. This, even so, was far from being a stage on which England had the leading roles. Eriksen, an attacking midfielder who plays for Ajax, made a deep impression. The England back four found it hard to settle, especially when the midfield was not being asked to screen them as would have been the case in a competitive international.
England wavered in some routine moments. It was a little too easy in the 39th minute for the inevitable Eriksen to feed Dennis Rommedahl and an effort from the Olympiakos winger had to be blocked by the foot of Hart. If the Manchester City goalkeeper is reported to have suffered a dip in form, he had enough exercise here to rehabilitate himself. He was still left to count on his post for assistance when Eriksen shot in the 39th minute.
Substitutions in such numbers have a sedative effect but England were alert enough to take the lead. With 68 minutes gone, a careful pass by Glen Johnson set up one of those substitutes, Young, to score with a low shot into the corner of the net.
Olsen has had a fine record with his Denmark team, even if their 2010 World Cup showing was even worse than that by Capello's men, but the vehemence had gone out of the match. It was all far more palatable for England than their last trip here in 2005, when the hosts won 4-1.
In broad terms, Wilshere gathered some experience, Bent lived up to his predator's reputation and Young found reason to believe he can affect a match for his country after coming on from the bench. The friendly had value for some people at least.