Making an impact

Christian Eriksen arrived in Tottenham in the summer of 2013 among the flurry of transfer dealings in the wake of Gareth Bale’s record-breaking move to Real Madrid. The 22-year-old has so far proved the pick of the bunch.

Christian Eriksen can become one of the Premier League’s best playmakers and go down in Tottenham folklore, according to team-mate Jan Vertonghen.

The 22-year-old arrived in the summer of 2013 among the flurry of transfer dealings in the wake of Gareth Bale’s record-breaking move to Real Madrid. Eriksen has so far proved the pick of the bunch and, after a slow start to this campaign, is beginning to show his potential once more.

He has earned the praise of former Ajax defender Vertonghen, who said: “As a playmaker, I think he can be one of the best in the Premier League. I’ve played with him since he was 16 or 17, so probably for six or seven years now. He’s improving every season. In the end of his Ajax days, I think they were a bit critical because his stats weren’t as good as they should be, they said, but I think he shows now that he can score and get assists as well — and he’s a very hard worker.

“He’s in first (for training) and he’s on the pitch until the last minute and I’m a big fan of his and I’m happy I convinced him to come here. We had good contact when he was still at Ajax and we always kept in touch. They (Tottenham) obviously asked me what I thought of him and I was very positive, and I think I did my job to convince him to come here.”

Eriksen’s impressive performances in the lilywhite shirt have seen him become a fans’ favourite at a club synonymous with style. Glenn Hoddle and Paul Gascoigne have wowed the fans in the past, while Vertonghen believes he will soon be bracketed alongside modern greats such as Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart.

“He can reach their level, 100 per cent,” the Belgium international said. “I know Luka and Rafael better as they’re playing in my era, but I know the reputation of Hoddle and Gascoigne and I think Christian can be one of the better players Spurs have ever had.”

Eriksen has played his part in some of Tottenham’s late shows which have been a feature of their season so far. He came up with an 89th-minute winner in the recent 2-1 victory at Swansea and believes improved fitness levels are responsible for his recent success.

The Dane scored an even later winner at Hull last month in another 2-1 win and Spurs also scored twice in the final six minutes to overturn a 1-0 deficit at Aston Villa at the start of November.

“You see the last few games and we’re still 100 percent ready to go at the end of the game,” Eriksen said. “Before we wouldn’t have been fit enough to go the whole game. I think everybody would rather win a little bit earlier but it does give us an extra feeling.”

Eriksen has now scored 12 league goals in the calendar year and that is more than any other midfielder in the country when you remove penalties from the equation.

© PA Sport