Christian Eriksen has endured a difficult start to the 2019-20 season. Spurs’ on-field struggles have mirrored the Danish international’s downturn in form, with Eriksen often finding himself on the bench, something fans have described as the ‘best news in weeks’. His creativity has long been his greatest asset but in recent months the magic that once defined his game seems to have disappeared and the team have suffered as a result.
Eriksen was the heartbeat of the team that reached the Champions League final last season with his ability to pick a pass and strike from distance. Tottenham’s attacking play often hinged on the Dane’s form and he consistently delivered, notching eight goals and 12 assists for the club last season. This campaign he has yielded one goal and one assist so far. A player who was so integral to the team in recent seasons, was an unused substitute in Tottenham’s recent 1-1 draw with Sheffield United.
It’s clear that the Dane has been distracted and perhaps a little frustrated that a summer move to Real Madrid or Barcelona never materialised. A lot of gossip has surrounded Eriksen’s inability to force a move away from Spurs, with some suggesting that Lionel Messi stepped in to prevent Barcelona signing a player he felt did not step up in big moments.
Whether there’s any truth to those rumours is unknown for certain, but there is a sense that Eriksen is not playing to his full potential. Having played so well in the run to the Champions League final last season, his performance in the final itself was lacklustre. There are parallels to be drawn between Eriksen and Mesut Özil’s struggles at Arsenal – two players who make the game look effortless when they are playing well, but could be perceived as lazy when the going gets tough.
There have been rumours of late that a January move to Manchester United could be on the cards, but Eriksen must ignore press speculation if he’s to recover his form. He is in the last year of his contract at Tottenham, and this seems to be influencing a lack of motivation to perform. If he is to move on to one of Europe’s top clubs, displaying a lack of commitment in his conduct won’t do him any favours. Playing for a club like Tottenham requires maximum dedication, and if Eriksen can focus on his football, he’ll be much better off moving forward.
The upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers could help Eriksen find a bit of form. Denmark will likely require two wins from their remaining games against Gibraltar and Ireland to qualify for next summer’s tournament finals.
A win over Gibraltar should be a formality and will offer the chance for Eriksen to build confidence and score a goal or two to restore that creative spark. The match against Ireland will essentially be a fight for automatic qualification, and while those betting on UEFA Euro 2020 will have a hard time calling the game in Dublin, it’s a chance for someone like Eriksen to be a hero.
They say that form is temporary and class is permanent, and there’s no doubt that Eriksen is among the best creative attacking midfielders in the world when at the top of his game. Sometimes all it takes is one stellar performance or one slice of luck to reignite a player’s form. Tottenham fans will be hoping that Eriksen can draw inspiration from somewhere.