herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

Christian puts dad duties aside and has Ireland in his sights now

Christian Eriksen. Pic: PA
Christian Eriksen. Pic: PA

Christian Eriksen has turned up for national duty.

Question is, which Christian Eriksen will turn up in the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen tonight?

The man who single-handedly tore Ireland apart in Dublin 19 months ago in the World Cup Play-off, or the man who was unable to get on the ball and make an impact in the biggest game of his career, in Madrid last Saturday night?

The Tottenham talisman was not involved when his Danish team-mates trained in the sun earlier this week at their base in the coastal town of Helsingor (Elsinore as it's know to those who did Hamlet for their Leaving Cert).

The draining affect of a Champions League final defeat to Liverpool, and the important matter of his son's second birthday, kept him away.

That birthday party for Alfred Eriksen on Tuesday was a welcome distraction. "I have been fortunate that it was my son's birthday, so I was able to concentrate on another person instead of thinking about the final," he said.

Future

Eriksen was welcomed back into the fold when he trained yesterday, happy to take the two-day break from training offered to him by manager Aage Hareide.

When he came to speak to the media, there was little talk of the Euro 2020 qualifier tomorrow but instead his own club future. Eriksen stating his desire to leave Tottenham in his desire to win trophies.

"I feel that I am at a stage of my career where I would like to try something new," he said.

"I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham. But I have also said that I would like to try something new.

"It all depends on Daniel Levy and there has to be another club, too. Or I will sit down myself at the table and negotiate a new contract. You can't set a date yourself. There aren't many boxes that Tottenham don't tick so if I have to move away, it would have to be a step up."

Ignore any suggestion that Eriksen will use the qualifier tomorrow night to "earn his dream move to Real Madrid". With the greatest respect to Ireland's defenders, clubs like Real Madrid don't sign someone on the basis of how he copes with Richard Keogh. If Real want Eriksen, then the deal is already done.

But will Ireland tomorrow night see an Eriksen who is still sulking from the Madrid loss, or a man driven by that disappointment?

He sounded angry after the loss to Liverpool. "I'm very bitter. I would very much like to have the f****** winner's medal," he told Danish TV.

"As we walked out on the track, we walked right next to the trophy. It's the trophy you're playing for. There are not many who remember second place."

If Eriksen has the fire in his belly and the bit between his teeth, it could be a long, long night for Ireland in Copenhagen. But if he goes missing, that opens a door for Mick McCarthy's side.

Denmark suffered a late injury problem as defender Andreas Bjelland was forced to pull out. Uncapped youngster Victor Nelsson has been called up form the U21 panel.

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