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Christian Eriksen

February 10, 2011

Yesterday England played a friendly game against Denmark in Copenhagen. The English media were in full frenzy hyping up their teenager Jack Wilshere. Based on all the hype, Wilshere is the next best thing out of England, the boy that will bag England the World Cup. Before the game, the English media did not know much about another teenager, 6 months younger than Wilshere, that goes by the name Christian Eriksen. After the game, everybody now knows him.

I, like many other Ajax fans or followers of the Dutch Eredivisie, noticed Christian Eriksen early 2010. He was only 17 years old when he made his debut in an Ajax shirt and he showed amazing talent. The way he played the game was as if he was a veteran of 17 years. He demanded the ball, opened up play, passed the ball around, basically he played like a proper Ajax #10 (in the mould of Jari Litmanen, Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder). After his debut he played pretty much everything during the final months of the 2009/2010 season and went to South Africa with Denmark. He was the youngest player at the World Cup and contrary to the ITV commentators, he did play some minutes for Denmark. When he came back to Ajax Martin Jol proceeded to shuffle the team around his new buys and Eriksen was demoted to the bench. When Jol left, Frank de Boer immediately put Eriksen in the starting line-up again as de Boer sees Eriksen as the perfect #10.

What makes Eriksen so good? First, there is the vision. He is able to see things on the field that only a select few can see. He has the ability to read the game incredibly well. Then there is his passing. Coupled with his vision, he often puts another player free in front of goal, as he can pass the ball in tight situations. And he has speed as well. Think of Xavi and he is a bit like him (not yet as complete though but maybe he will be as good as Xavi one day). On top of that he always wants to be involved in the play. He demands the ball every time and is always running looking for space in between the lines.

Against England, Eriksen tormented England in the first half. As he was playing in the hole, the defenders weren’t sure to close him and the midfielders were late in tracking him. Only in the second half with Barry AND Parker on him was he subdued. Eriksen managed to create a lot for Denmark. The Danish goal was from his lovely cross and he also hit the post with a hard left foot shot. His frame is still a bit small, but he is still growing stronger. Then again, Messi isn’t the biggest of players, is he? For those who missed his performance against England, here is a video (thanks to 101greatgoals).

Now that the world has noticed Eriksen, it will be interesting to see if Ajax can hold on to him. Eriksen himself wants to play for Barcelona after he sees out his contract with Ajax in 2014 but I am sure English clubs will try to throw some stupid money this summer to sign him. Chelsea already tried to sign him when he was still at Odense BK and I am sure they will want to try again.

Jack Wilshere has been doing very well at Arsenal, did well for England last night and is surely going to be a key player for England. Christian Eriksen though is the one that the rest of the world will want to watch.

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