During the Denmark versus Finland match at the Euros, the footballing world witnessed a tragedy occur on the pitch. The main man of the Denmark team suddenly collapsed to the ground, lying motionless on the pitch. Within seconds, the game had stopped, the medics hit the pitch, and everyone was praying as one.
The good news came an hour later that he was alive and well, and that he had suffered a cardiac arrest while playing. The prayers of the footballing community had been heard, and Christian Eriksen was healthy and raring to go again.
Eriksen is a Danish footballer who operates in the middle of the pitch. He primarily plays as an attacking midfielder, and plays for Serie A giant Inter Milan and the aforementioned Denmark national team.
Eriksen can also occupy other positions in midfield, including that of a central midfielder, wide midfielder and has even played as a second striker. He is a versatile player, and one managers can count on.
He has been Mr. Reliable ever since his Ajax days, where he began his career. Playing as a classic No. 10, he was frequently compared to Michael Laudrup. After winning three Eredivisie titles, Eriksen made the switch to England, signing for Tottenham Hotspur.
It was at Spurs that Eriksen would blossom into a world-class player. In his debut season, he became the club’s Player of the Year. In his seven years playing in North London, he won that honour again, and was also included in the 2017-18 PFA Team of the Year. His performances were sheer class, and his ability to unlock resistances was a key strength of the Spurs team.
In the 2018-19 season, Eriksen made history by becoming the second player after the legendary David Beckham himself to provide 10 assists in four consecutive PL seasons.
He continued to drop masterclasses, and played a key role in the side that managed to beat Dortmund, Manchester City and Ajax to reach the UEFA Champions League Final.
Ultimately, Eriksen’s team would come up short. The next season, he signed for Inter Milan. Under Antonio Conte, he stepped up whenever he was asked, and won the Scudetto with the Nerrazzuri.
Big player for the big occasion
Even on the international stage, Eriksen has shone. He has been the main man for Denmark since he made his debut in 2010. Denmark’s road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup is well-documented, and at the centre of it was the Danish playmaker.
He inspired his side to a RO16 finish, where his side lost to Croatia on penalties. Nevertheless, you only need to look at his five Danish Football Player of the Year awards to know he is the Denmark team’s Messi.
How does Eriksen do what he does? He plays a very tough and crucial role, yet he makes it look very easy. Eriksen thrives in a free role, behind the forwards.
With the freedom to create chances and orchestrate the play, he is often the main man to mark for opponents. But he can also play anywhere in midfield, and possesses the intelligence and versatility to give opponents a torrid time wherever he plays.
Eriksen’s skillset makes him a complete midfielder. His vision, passing range, creativity, link-up play, space exploitation and distribution means he is always looking to open up rigid backlines.
Coupled with his balance, movement, reading of the game and late runs into the box, he is a massive threat on any aspect of attacking. His crossing ability and set-piece deliveries are top-notch, and more often than not result in big chances created.
Eriksen has also scored some absolute bangers in his career, and his goalscoring ability is underrated. His late runs into the box means he is always in good scoring positions. Despite being right-footed, his weak foot is straight up FIFA-level broken as well. He is also lethal from dead balls, and is one of the best free-kick takers in world football today.
If you see Eriksen play and think of legends like Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart, you are doing the comparison right. The styles of play are eerily similar, and Eriksen is one of the most technically gifted footballers around.
The Dane’s inspiration, however, has always been Francesco Totti. A great benchmark to have, and even Totti would be proud when he sees Eriksen play.
So when Eriksen was forced to leave the pitch, Denmark lost their best player. They now face an uphill task to get out of their group. However, the country and everyone else involved in the tournament paid tribute to Eriksen, showing that football is well and truly the beautiful game. As such, Denmark will look to qualify for their talisman, and do it for him and his family.
If you had to describe Eriksen in one word, it would be ‘class’. Every move, pass and touch he makes is quality. He is one of the more underrated players in the world today. But keen football fans will know of his prowess, and his ability to single-handedly change games for the team he plays for.
Right now, Eriksen cannot play football immediately. The entire footballing fraternity is waiting for him to take to the pitch again and weave his magic. Until then and throughout his career and beyond, let us appreciate Christian for his talents and his abilities.