Manchester United’s midfield issues have been partly offset with the addition of Christian Eriksen. The Danish star’s ability on the ball and clever positioning off it are perfectly suited to Erik ten Hag’s methods.
And the Denmark international was given over 80 minutes in United’s last two friendlies combined as the Dutchman tries to get the new recruit up to speed.
Eriksen was not part of the squad that flew off to Bangkok and Australia and missed quite a large chunk of pre-season. But the classy midfield operator certainly did not show any signs of rustiness in either performance.
His passing remains as ethereal as ever and he almost came close to opening his account for the Red Devils against Rayo Vallecano. What was even more impressive was the hard work he put in off the ball with his constant harrying and pressing.
It is clear that Ten Hag trusts the 30-year-old and that was one of the major reasons why the former Tottenham Hotspur star chose to relocate to Manchester despite interest from multiple London outfits including his former club.
“Before I came, I spoke to Ten Hag about how he sees me as a player and where he sees me. He didn’t mention any players. It definitely helped (speaking to him), how he sees football. How he wants to play football; it suits my style of play and how I developed as a player at Ajax many years ago. It suits me well,” Eriksen was quoted as saying (source: The Mail).
Eriksen was wanted by every United manager
The former Serie A winner also revealed that he has spoken to all United managers who followed in the footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson about making the move to the 20-time English champions.
David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all tried to convince the midfield maestro but it never panned out due to Eriksen’s love for Spurs but the cardiac arrest he suffered during Euro 2020 changed everything and finally the chance to fulfill his long-standing wish presented itself this year.
“Even at Spurs, I spoke to every manager who’s been here at Man United to see what the situation was. But I was at Spurs at the time and I really couldn’t see myself playing in another English team at that time. I went abroad and went to Inter. But then obviously something happened in the summer and that changed the career path I had in mind a bit.
“Then obviously to come back to Brentford first of all and then to be here is something I didn’t think could happen a year ago. I’ve always trusted my football abilities. There have always been different clubs. Obviously, I was at Brentford last season, it was a bit new for me but it went well, I had a lovely time but going to Manchester after, the fanbase and the club, it’s the biggest,” Eriksen added.
Eriksen was deployed just behind Cristiano Ronaldo in Sunday’s friendly but that No 10 position is currently occupied by Bruno Fernandes who has shown flashes of his old form in the previous encounters.
It will be difficult for Eriksen to start as the advanced midfielder in every game but the Dane feels he has the ability to adapt to his manager’s needs and he envisages no issues if both Fernandes and him are on the pitch at the same time.
“Obviously, he puts the team out and picks who’s gonna start, and then from there on you adapt to whoever you’re playing with. But I can’t see any problem playing with Bruno, no. I’ll be happy wherever (I play), I’ve always been like that. I try to adapt to the position I’m playing in,” he added.
And next Sunday, the first official opportunity to walk out in the famous red shirt at the Theatre of Dreams will present itself to Eriksen. For someone who came so close to hanging up his boots, the Brighton game will be something truly special.