Christian Eriksen has never been a player to push himself to the forefront of the footballing world. A man who simply works hard on the training ground and performs on a match day. Never overstated on or off the pitch. While his excellent performances for both club and country are received in high appraisal, mainstream media rarely laud him as one of the great creative forces. This is truly an injustice.
The Dane’s creative influence as an attacking midfielder is remarkable to watch and quite clearly influences the style in which his club play. Last season Tottenham racked up a whopping 89 league goals. Since the arrival of Mauricio Pochettino, a consistent free flowing attacking style of play has been prevalent. The Argentine has given Eriksen the freedom to dictate from a central position, allowing the three time Eredivisie winner to display his full array of talents. His creative vision and ability to find space, for himself and others, make the Dane one of the most lethal weapons in the Premier League.
Eriksen’s strengths compliment the contrasting styles of his team mates, such as Dele Alli. Alli is a player who likes to burst into space with well timed runs, often from deep in midfield. However, he has struggled to enact this playing style whilst playing for England. An indicator of how pivotal Eriksen is to not only Tottenham’s results but the performances of their more revered players.
The range of passing that the Spurs midfielder can execute is key to his style. He shows the ability to perfectly weight through balls and can also play a fast tempo short game to ramp up an attack. His movement is superb, with a clear sense for where the space is on a pitch he is a real asset in the attacking transition. The cherry on top of his style is his pure technical ability with a dead ball. His set piece delivery and accuracy are pin point, scoring 8 free kick goals in all competitions since his arrival.
Eriksen’s influence is not only evident in his style of play but also reflected in his statistical output. In the past two seasons Eriksen has created over 110 chances and registered 28 assists, missing out on top spot to Mesut Ozil (2015/2016) and Kevin De Bruyne (2016/2017) respectively. Eriksen’s 2 assists in 8 league starts is uncharacteristically low, however with an impressive 16 chances created this figure will almost certainly rise.Embed from Getty Images
It could be argued that his biggest achievements this season are with the Danish National Team. Eriksen has managed to inspire his side to reaching the World Cup qualifying playoffs with 3 assists as well as a goal in each of their last 5 matches. After failing to reach the 2016 European Championships, it would be a tremendous achievement for Eriksen and his country to book their place in Russia.
Despite his heavy influence, Eriksen is often forgotten among conventional outlets when discussing the Premier League’s influential creative forces. Not only across the league, but even within his own club, Eriksen still finds himself with a lack of air time. It is very much understandable that the likes of Harry Kane would steal the spotlight for the headline writers due to his superb goal scoring form over the past 3 seasons. However, Eriksen’s contribution to crafting Spurs’ relentless attacking style is key to the achievements of others around him.Embed from Getty Images
His ability alone should be enough to bring him to the forefront of journalist’s attention. Why Eriksen is not receiving worthy tributes seems to be through a number of small factors. The Dane’s conservative personality allows the prominent voices of football to almost bypass his talents.
Eriksen may steal more of the spotlight should there be any truth behind the whispering links to Barcelona. A club in which the eulogised Johan Cruyff reinvented the blueprint for modern football. Cruyff also had some glowing praise for Erisken during his time at Ajax, comparing him to the Laundrup brothers before expressing “He’s a player I really like with all my heart.”
Eriksen’s talent and influence is something that deserves endless recognition. A player who is not only a joy to watch, but shows the intelligence required to be a footballing great. The performances that Eriksen has consistently provided means his name should be first on your lips when discussing the best attacking midfielders in world football.
Jonathan Russell – Trigger the Press