'I'm just a normal dude from a small town in Denmark'

Tuesday 04 Mar 2014
Christian Eriksen in action for Tottenham

Christian Eriksen comes across as one of life’s calmer characters - and yet he looks a little nervous as he casts a glance across to Wembley Stadium’s imposing structure of concrete and glass.

The Denmark and Tottenham midfielder may have been the youngest player at the 2010 World Cup, and has been garlanded as one of the most gifted players of his generation, but the 22-year-old fears injury may deny him a chance to play at one of the great venues.

England v Denmark

International friendly
Wembley Stadium
8pm, Wednesday 5 March


“I’m not great, to be honest,” said Eriksen of the back injury that kept him out of Spurs’s win over Cardiff last Sunday. “I’ve got a fitness test tomorrow [Wednesday] so hopefully I will be OK to play.

“I’ve never played at Wembley. And of course it would be special to play there.

“For a lot of the lads it is the same. It is a big stadium with a huge history.

“Everyone talks about the big pitch and the atmosphere - it’s the place to be.”

Missing the meeting with England, where he might come up against his Tottenham team-mate Andros Townsend, would be a blow, although this is a young player who takes most things in his stride.

When he speaks in English – his third language after his mother tongue and the Dutch he picked up four seasons with Ajax – he is cheerful and measured.

Christian Eriksen Andrea Pirlo

Christian Eriksen holds off Andrea Pirlo while playing for Denmark


And when Eriksen skips clear of a tackle, or executes a perfectly placed through-ball, he does it with remarkable simplicity and ease.

Is this a reflection of his off-field personality?

“I think so. I am just a normal dude from a small town in Denmark. My feet are on the ground,” he said.

“Maybe I just try to play like that too. I always have done it that way - and while you have to develop and try new things - it has always succeeded.”

Yet on the face of it Eriksen’s first season in football – he moved to Spurs in August – has been far from straightforward.

Nagging injuries, the sacking of manager Andre Villas-Boas and the physical demands of the English Premier League would have tested far more seasoned professionals, but Eriksen remains upbeat.

“I came here with an open mind. I have never thought I know it all, so I’ve never been taken aback with something different,” he said.

“The football is more physical. It goes quicker – you get some time on the ball but you have to be aware that all the players are quicker and stronger.

“And it suits me because English football is getting quite technical.

“But the main difference is that you don’t have any bad teams – any team can win.

“The Dutch league is close but this is different – you know you are going to lose a few games in a season where in Holland when you’re at Ajax you shouldn’t even lose one.”

Andros Townsend scores against Montenegro

Andros Townsend is one of the England and Tottenham players to have impressed Eriksen


“Maybe I’m lucky, but people at Spurs and where I live have been really nice. They ask if you need help and they help you. They’ve really taken me in.”

Eriksen singled out Townsend as one of the players to have impressed him since leaving for England.

“I didn’t know about Andros Townsend before I came here and of course I was impressed. Just his speed, his physique and his style of play.

“I knew Kyle Walker – from playing FIFA I think – and he’s a very good player.”

“I supported Roma, and that was because of Football Manager. They were insane, with Gabriel Batistuta and Francesco Totti”

Christian Eriksen 


These days Eriksen does not spend so much time with a controller in his hands - but he remembers a time when his commitment to Football Manager verged on the obsession.

“It’s just having fun, finishing the season in two days, and then you’re done. I wasn’t often an English team – maybe Manchester United,” he said.

“Back then I supported Roma, and that was because of Football Manager. They were insane, with Gabriel Batistuta and Francesco Totti.

“And after that Valencia, of course for Gaizka Mendieta, and Roberto Soldado more recently,” he said, chuckling at the mention of his Spurs team-mate.

“But more than watching football I just love to play.”

By James Callow Content manager