Ignorant English media finally wake up to Eriksen’s talent

Prior to the midweek friendly match in Copenhagen, some of the English media were dubbing 18 year-old Christian Eriksen as “Denmark’s own Jack Wilshere”.

But after the game on Wednesday, it’s clear that the two players are some distance apart.

Standing at 5’7 and weighing just a little over 10 stone, you’d think that Eriksen would struggle to compete in a midfield which is often dominated by physicality. But on Wednesday, his speed, agility, vision and ability to cause havoc in defences with his movement and passing saw him compared to Denmark’s very own Laudrup brothers.

The Danish youngster’s performance against England was lauded from all sides. Both Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand (via Twitter) said he was “the man of the match”, whilst the British media were falling over themselves to roll out the highest superlatives possible to describe the Danish wonderkid.

The performance of the Ajax youngster put Jack Wilshere’s debut in the shade. Although Wilshere played well, Eriksen was better. Not only did Eriksen set up Daniel Agger’s goal, but he also hit the post with a ferocious effort and was a constant threat all evening, pestering the English defence and robbing opponents of the ball.

British journalists and broadcasters alike seemed astounded by such a performance from a player they thought was relatively unknown – when really, it just added to the claim that the British media show a degree of ignorance and apathy when it comes to European football.

Had football journalists in the UK paid even the slightest bit of attention to matters on the continent, they would’ve seen that Eriksen’s performance was not something out of the ordinary and that he has being doing it regularly for both Ajax and Denmark.

Eriksen began his career at Danish side OB in 2005, working his way through the ranks of the youth side before being bought by Ajax in October 2008 for a reported sum of €1m. Like with OB, Eriksen worked his way up the youth ranks in Amsterdam before he was finally named in the first team squad in January 2010.

Since then, Eriksen has been on a straight road to success. In just over 12 months, the young midfielder has played 48 first-team games for Ajax, 11 times for the national side and was also named the 2010 Danish Talent of the Year. Coach Morten Olsen even included him in the Danes’ World Cup squad last summer where he won two of his international games against the Netherlands and Japan. Compare this to Jack Wilshere’s two games played for England and a total of 38 first-team games in three seasons for Arsenal and Bolton.

It seems that where Wilshere has been ushered in steadily and quietly for both club and country, Eriksen has been thrown in at the deep-end and thrived on it.

There’s no doubt that in the aftermath of Eriksen’s performance, Premiership clubs have begun to take an interest. Although the midfielder has said previously that he’d love to play for Barcelona, he also said that he would never rule out a move to the Premier League – which has apparently encouraged Liverpool to make a tentative enquiry.

Although Eriksen is still young and learning at this level, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he may fizzle out into nothing more than another overly-hyped, too much too soon sort of player who languishes in the lower reaches of a middle-of-the-road European league.

But with the kind of talent he showed on Wednesday night, it looks highly, highly unlikely.

Colin Stone

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