It might not be plain sailing for Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur but there are reasons to be cheerful at White Hart Lane. Home-grown striker Harry Kane has regularly displayed his knack for goals, there’s a glamour Europa League tie against Fiorentina to come and, most encouragingly, Christian Eriksen is showing signs of realising his enormous potential.
Eriksen has been regarded as one to watch for many years now. He became the youngest Denmark international since Michael Laudrup when making his first senior appearance for his country in March 2010 at the age of 18 and signed by Ajax when only 16. He was promoted to the seniors little more than a year later and joined the lengthy list of stars schooled in Amsterdam.
From the iconic Johan Cryuff to Golden
Eriksen’s short career so far indicates it won’t take him long to get to the top either. After all, you don’t win the Danish Player of the Year award at 19 if you plan on hanging around, and racking up more than 150 appearances for the Amsterdammers prior to joining Tottenham points to a mature head on young shoulders
Indeed, his impact at Spurs was immediate too. Tottenham had scored only two league goals in the opening three games of the 2013-14 season, both Roberto Soldado penalties. Eriksen first appeared in Spurs’ fourth Premier League game of the campaign, Norwich City’s visit to the Lane. Half-an-hour later and Eriksen had created the team’s first open play goal of the year and, to prove it wasn’t a fluke, conjured up the second a few minutes into the second half, Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring both times.
Eriksen, like the rest of Tottenham, was weighed down by the idiosyncrasies of Andre Villas-Boas and the uncertainty surrounding Tim Sherwood, his best form not really flourishing on a consistent basis under either manager, but he still ended his first season in England with 36 games and 10 goals in all competitions. Only once at Ajax did he score more, netting 13 in 2012-13, and they came in 45 appearances.
This year, at a more settled club, Eriksen has already found the target six times and often at crucial moments. The last-minute winner at Swansea followed important goals against Everton, Hull, and Southampton – goals that not only delivered victories but eased the pressure on Pochettino at a club hungry for success and quickly, where neither players nor managers are given time to adjust and adapt.
Eriksen has shown he doesn’t need time. What he needs is to be the centre of the team and building the team around the 22-year-old, born on February 14 1992, would be best for him, for Spurs and for Pochettino, who need look no further to find his Valentine.