Christian Eriksen: from discreet star at Spurs to title winner at Inter | sport
VShristian Eriksen, who was recovering in a Copenhagen hospital on Saturday night after collapsing in Denmark’s game against Finland, was 21 when he arrived in England. It was part of the summer deal madness that followed Gareth Bale’s sale to Real Madrid in 2013. For a very short time it was lumped together, by some, as one of the many rather disappointing deals on the same ticket. But not for long.
Eriksen arrived from Ajax, a prodigiously talented, lightweight, childish and seemingly normal footballer. It was the first take of those who met him at Tottenham training ground. He didn’t seem like a star. He looked like a normal young Dane, with quiet humor. He was spotted traveling around London on the underground with his girlfriend, Sabrina Kvist Jensen, with whom he now has two young children. He spoke in an easy, untrained manner in interviews. Soon after, something else became clear. In fact, he was a star.
But Eriksen has always carried his footballing skills lightly on and off the pitch. At 18, he was playing for Ajax in the Champions League against Real Madrid. At Spurs he was known as Golazo. For a while he was the Maestro, which seemed to match his scholarly and slightly stern demeanor.
In seven years with Spurs, he has become a key part of the revolution in style, fortunes and club expectations enacted by Mauricio Pochettino.
In his debut season he scored the winner at Old Trafford on New Years Day and finished with 10 goals. The following season, he started just behind Emmanuel Adebayor in attack. By the end of the year, with Harry Kane now installed as a compelling advanced partner, he was one of the league’s outstanding creative players, and an unusual player too.
English football had now fully absorbed the idea of the inside striker leading the game between the lines. Eriksen was a kind of Nordic variation, never a flashy gamer, and without free moves and frills, but relentlessly productive, able to find tiny pockets of space, his game marked by clarity, vision and competitive immersion in the team.
He was the grace note of the happiest attacking quartet of the Pochettino years, Eriksen ‑ Alli ‑ Son ‑ Kane. He was, out of character, one of those nine reserved Spurs players when the title race collapsed at Chelsea in 2016, although he also played wonderfully for an hour.
Meanwhile, Eriksen was building up a surprisingly good international career. He won 108 caps and 36 goals over 11 years. He scored a hat-trick in the 2018 World Cup qualifying second leg against Ireland, a night Eriksen looked sublime, a level above all the other footballers on the pitch, leading his manager , Åge Hareide, to suggest he was one of the top 10 players in the world at the time.
Eriksen played over 300 games for Spurs but passed out as that team grew old together. As the £ 12.5million signings disappear, he remains one of the club’s most engaging and lovingly remembered foreign rookies in the modern era. He moved in January 2020 as his contract with Spurs came to an end. He struggled a bit at Inter but was showing signs of stabilizing as a member of the winning Serie A squad, a first big honor since three league titles with Ajax.
At 29, and with 12 years of professional football behind him, Eriksen is a case of pure talent expressed despite his petite stature – rectified by layers of muscle added during the Poch years – in a demanding and relentlessly demanding environment.
When he left Spurs, Eriksen felt he had yet another level to go. He had been linked occasionally with Real Madrid; and even, more recently, with a return to the Premier League, which he left with only friends and fond memories.