Whole stadium rises as one to applaud Christian Eriksen’s return to top-class football
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New club Brentford have a real battle on their hands to remain in the English top flight
Christian Eriksen’s reintroduction to top class football after an absence of 259 days was always going to be a special moment.
A much admired player at English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur between 2013 and 2020, he played his club football for Inter in Italy at the time of his unfortunate cardiac arrest in June 2021, and his name was respectively the third and first most popular Google searches in the Euro 2020 finalists last year.
So after Denmark, he couldn’t have picked a more fitting place to return than the EPL, where he notched up records for goals scored outside the penalty area (23), assists (62) and chances created (571) during his 226-game spell at Spurs.
But new manager Thomas Frank, a fellow Dane, had an extra trick up his sleeve on Saturday when it came time for Eriksen’s debut for EPL new boys Brentford.
Man of the match performance
When Eriksen was replaced on that fateful day against Finland on 12 June 2021, it was by Mathias Jensen. So who should Eriksen replace on Saturday: none other than Mathias Jensen!
Brentford, reduced to 10 men after 11 minutes, struggled against a resurgent Newcastle United, eventually losing 2-0. But it was Eriksen’s introduction in the 52nd minute that provided the true highlight of the game. The whole ground rose as one to salute him, and he was quick to show some trademark touches.
Followers of BBC Sport awarded his performance with a score of 8.86 – the next best rated Brentford player only managed 5.48 – and the Man of the Match accolade.
Next up for Eriksen and Brentford is a trip to bottom side Norwich City on Saturday. Defeat for the 15th-placed team would draw them closer to the relegation zone – potentially within four places of last place with just 10 games left to play.
Following his cardiac arrest, Eriksen was fitted with an ICD heart-starting device that will activate should the same occur again. Italian league rules prevented him from continuing to play for Inter whilst wearing the device.
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