Euro 2020: Midfield maestro Christian Eriksen holds key to Denmark's fortunes

Eriksen is Denmark's most active capped player with 108 caps as well as the team's top goalscorer with 36 goals.

Christian Eriksen was stabilised in hospital after collapsing on the pitch. (Image Credit: Twitter)

Fans were abuzz with excitement as Denmark took on Finland in the third match of the ongoing edition of Euro 2020. The latter were making their debut in the tournament with the Danes boasting of the likes of Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, Andreas Christensen among others. Eriksen, hailed by many as Denmark’s heartbeat has always been a fan-favourite because of his stylish gameplay, inch-perfect skills from a dead-ball scenario as well as undying loyalty. The Inter Milan midfielder’s every move was cheered on by the fans, as he left the masses in a state of exhilaration with an opener seeming like a mere formality. However, things took a horrible turn in the 42nd minute as the ball went out of play for a Denmark throw-in with the score reading 0-0. The 29-year-old rushed to receive the ball but he collapsed face-first as the ball hit his knee. Medical staff attempted to resuscitate Eriksen, with the game eventually suspended as confirmed by UEFA. The football association has further confirmed that the footballer has been transferred to a hospital and is ‘stabilized’. Here’s a look at his journey in the game so far:

Beginning of career at Ajax

Eriksen began his career with Ajax after joining the Dutch giants’ academy as a teenager. He represented the club between 2008 and 2013, during which he helped the club in winning four Eredivisie titles. Eriksen recorded 30 assists (the second-best total in the Eredivisie), maintained the best pass accuracy as well as the most assists from dead-ball situations in his final two seasons at the Dutch club. His final season for Ajax saw the midfielder being directly involved in 24 goals in 33 league games (10 goals, 14 assists). Not only this, Eriksen further registered five goals across six Champions League matches (one goal, four assists). The midfielder had proven his calibre and ability to negotiate bigger challenges which soon resulted in a move to Tottenham Hotspur.

Emerging as a star at Tottenham Hotspur

Eriksen did not take much time in showcasing his capabilities, emerging as one of the top players in the English club. The Danish midfielder scored 51 goals in 226 appearances for Tottenham, with 62 assists in the same number of games. Eriksen became a vital cog in Mauricio Pochettino’s side, with his devastating creativity allowing fellow attackers Harry Kane and Dene Alli to express themselves beautifully. He created more chances than anyone else in the Premier League since his debut with 571 chances, which is 20 more than second-placed Mesut Ozil. The midfielder created a massive 73 big chances since his debut, with Kevin de Bruyne the only player above him at 84.

Former Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong’s beautiful analysis of Eriksen’s gameplay certainly indicates his impact on the pitch:

“[Mesut] Ozil must be one of the best number 10 in the world, a fantastic player, and Eriksen is not far behind him. He knows where to put himself, floating between the lines. As soon as he gets the ball he is a threat. He plays very simply. With his touch and vision he sees the right pass at the right moment. It’s hard to know whether to follow him because he can make the difference as soon as he gets the ball, in a split second. That is how top quality players are, and he is a top quality player,” as quoted by Express.

Move to Inter Milan

Eriksen has only been a part of the Serie-A team for a season, playing a total of 34 matches in all competitions and scoring four goals for the side so far. His performances played a key role in Inter Milan winning the Scudetto, with the midfielder’s excellent gameplay drawing immense appreciation.

Journey with Denmark

Eriksen is Denmark’s most active capped player with 108 caps as well as the team’s top goalscorer with 36 goals. His journey with the national team began after he was called up to the national under-17 football team in July 2007. Eriksen impressed in his debut, scoring 9 goals in 16 games for the U-17s. He was named as the Danish U-17 Talent of the Year by the Danish FA. The midfielder further made his presence felt for the Denmark U-18 and U-19 teams, resulting in an opportunity for the U-21 squad to the European Championship. Eriksen received his first senior call-up in February 2010. The footballer made his debut in Denmark’s friendly match against Austria in March, becoming the nation’s fourth-youngest full international and the youngest debutant since Michael Laudrup.

Eriksen could well be sidelined for the rest of Euro 2020, following the tragic collapse on the pitch. Denmark will definitely be hit hard by their midfield maestro’s absence. However, his well-being and ultimate recovery is the only aspect that matters in a world that is currently battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and would certainly experience a boost through some positive news.




WRITTEN BY
Arnab Mukherji

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