The playmaker has made an impressive recovery since his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 last year but will have to wait a little longer for his comeback
Christian Eriksens Brentford debut will have to wait beyond this weekend, admits coach Thomas Frank, but the Bees boss says that the Denmark international is very much “going in the right direction”.
The former Tottenham and Inter playmaker, who joined the Premier League outfit on a short-term deal in January, has not played a professional game since suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 last year.
While Eriksen has subsequently embarked on an impressive road to recovery, his new coach admits that he is not quite ready to step back onto the field against Arsenal on Saturday – but added that his skills remain undimmed as he continues to near a return.
“It is a delicate balance,” Frank told his pre-match press conference. “We want him out there, but just like every other player who has been out for seven or eight months, they need quite a few games in a row to get up to their normal level.
“I need to put him on the pitch and then then we will take it from there. He looks good in training, like he is still a pretty good footballer, with that unbelievable quality in his vision, passing range, finishing and deliveries.
“Now it is that extra sharpness and incisive actions that he needs to repeat more and more often – but it is going the right direction.”
Though Eriksens capture by Brentford may prove less eye-catching when considering the large Danish contingent that forms part of the Bees squad – all in all, they have seven players, including several members who made the Euro 2020 semi-finals – the playmaker remains their biggest name by some distance.
Yet Frank has been quick to hail his back-to-basics humility as a positive impact on the rest of his team-mates, adding: “I knew it before, but I have just got it confirmed that he is a top player with top quality, you see that in every session.
His movements, his touches, vision, the way he plays forward and creates chances. He is a top person. He fits perfectly in the culture, even though he is by far our biggest star player.”
Though Eriksen is set to miss the trip to the Emirates Stadium this weekend, he will be expected to play a part in another closed-doors friendly early next week after playing an hour against Southend on Monday in a similar situation.
That could well prove to be the final test to proving his fitness, potentially setting the stage for a debut against Newcastle – another Premier League side who reportedly sought his signature when he set his sights on a return to England in the new year.
Eriksen was forced to seek a new club owing to rules in Serie A that would have forbidden him playing with a heart-starter implant, effectively ending his Inter career months after becoming a Scudetto champion at San Siro.