COPENHAGEN, March 16 — Christian Eriksen will return to the Danish squad later this month for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Euro 2020 last June, Denmark’s football association said Tuesday.
The 30-year-old, who has been fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, has been selected to play in Denmark’s friendlies against the Netherlands on March 26 in Amsterdam and against Serbia on March 29 in Copenhagen, the association said.
Eriksen made his club comeback on February 26 for English Premier League side Brentford.
The Dane suffered a cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening game of the European Championships against Finland in Copenhagen on June 12.
He had to be resuscitated on the pitch, lying unconscious for several minutes as the stunned crowd and millions of television viewers around the world watched on in horror.
Eriksen spent several days in hospital and had the pacemaker implanted to regulate his heartbeat.
“He’s in good shape. I’ve followed him closely. I was recently in London to see him and evaluate him. I saw him in practice and during a match and physically he’s very, very sharp”, Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand told reporters.
“There are always things that can be improved, that’s normal, but he’s playing at a very high level”, he added.
‘It’s the old Christian’
Eriksen terminated his contract with Inter Milan by mutual consent in December as Italian league rules bar players with pacemakers, contrary to the Premier League.
He joined Brentford on a six-month deal and made his first appearance as a substitute in a defeat against Newcastle United on February 26.
The former Tottenham midfielder received a standing ovation from supporters and players on both sides when he came on after 52 minutes.
Hjulmand said he hadn’t expected to see Eriksen playing top level football so quickly.
“I don’t think any of us expected him to play as well as he is playing now,” he said.
“There’s no doubt that he’s ready” to return to the Danish side.
“I watched the match between Brentford and Burnley and I thought he was the game’s best player”, he said, adding: “The way he behaves on the pitch, he’s present, paying attention, decisive in his passes.”
“His perception of the game and the way he moves on the pitch show what he’s capable of. He needs to work a little on his strength but you can see that his ball control and vision of the game are there,” Hjulmand said.
“It’s the old Christian Eriksen”, he said, adding that he expected him to “not just play, but be a deciding factor” for Denmark.
Throughout his career, Eriksen has played 109 caps and scored 36 goals for the Danish squad, which has qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. — AFP