The timing was right

Published : Oct 26, 2013 00:00 IST

Christian Eriksen’s move to London comes off the back of winning three successive Dutch league titles during which time he made 161 appearances, scoring 32 goals, writes Andrew Lawton.

It says a lot for Tottenham’s summer spending spree that Gareth Bale has gone and the squad now looks stronger.

Spurs fans were sorry to see Gareth Bale leave for Real Madrid this summer but the transfer fee involved made it bearable, and the arrival of Christian Eriksen has given them a new hero.

Arsenal’s capture of Mesut Ozil has attracted the most attention but Eriksen is threatening to prove just as influential across north London and that could be enough to ensure Spurs are contenders for a UEFA Champions League place, and maybe even the English Premier League title.

The fee was substantially less, with Eriksen arriving from Dutch champions Ajax in a GBP11.5million deal, which reflects the level at which Ozil has already proved himself.

The comparison is an understandable one though, given that both players are attacking midfielders, but Eriksen concedes that he has some way to go before he can be put in the same class.

“I think he has achieved a little bit more than me,” said the 21-year-old Denmark international. “I am a few years younger and still have to learn a lot.”

Eriksen’s move to London comes off the back of winning three successive Dutch league titles during which time he made 161 appearances, scoring 32 goals.

His boyhood club was OB, where his talent was obvious as a teenager and he regularly played in a much higher age group than he belonged.

He was soon on the radar of some of the biggest clubs in Europe, and he visited the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Milan. In a move which highlighted his maturity though, he turned down more lucrative offers and opted to join Ajax in the Netherlands where he felt his footballing education would be best served.

He was right. Frank de Boer was in charge of the youth set-up at Ajax and oversaw his development before recommending him for his first-team debut at the age of 17.

He made his Dutch league debut against NAC Breda in January 2010 and scored his first goal two months later in a 6-0 Dutch Cup win.

Just a month later he made his first appearance for Denmark’s senior national side to become his country’s fourth youngest international and he did enough to earn a place in the squad for the 2010 World Cup.

He was involved in two games in South Africa, where he was the youngest player at the tournament, although he could not help Denmark get beyond the group stage.

In December of his first full season at Ajax, Eriksen received the Dutch Talent of the Year award and began to make his mark in Europe by scoring against Anderlecht in the UEFA Europa League.

In his second full season, Eriksen proved himself in the UEFA Champions League, scoring in the 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb.

He was also named the Danish Football Association’s Danish Player of the Year for 2011, an award which recognised Eriksen’s outstanding contribution not only to Ajax’s league titles but also Denmark’s qualification for the 2012 European Championship.

Europe’s top clubs continued to chase after him and he rejected several earlier chances to move to England before finally opting for Spurs this summer.

“It took me a while to get here because I said no a few times,” he said. “Manchester City really wanted to sign me last summer but it didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to go to a club just to stay on the bench.

“I didn’t feel ready for the Premier League then, and now it looks like I moved at the right time.”

His early performances and the departure of Bale suggest the timing was right for all parties.


MOMENT TO REMEMBER: Winning a third consecutive Dutch title with Ajax in 2013.

MOMENT TO FORGET: Coming on as a substitute during Denmark’s 3-1 defeat to Japan in the 2010 World Cup which saw his team sent home.

© PA Sport, 2013, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, re-written, re-distributed or commercially exploited. Sportstar is not responsible for any inaccuracy in the material.

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