Christian Eriksen was a key player in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Roda JC. With a goal, two assists, and an important contribution in the third goal, the 19 year old midfielder showed us a glimpse of his class in Kerkrade. On Sunday, Eriksen will meet former team mate Rodney Sneijder. He knows the midfielder – who has been loaned out to FC Utrecht – very well.
Scarcely three days before the competition match against Roda JC, Eriksen watched from the side lines as his team, in the same Parkstad Limburg Stadium, against the same opponent, reached the next round in the national cup tournament: 2-4. Looking back, the Danish star is pleased with the technical staff’s decision to keep him on the bench for that first match in Limburg. “They realised that I’d been playing a lot”, explains the Ajax player. “I’ve been pretty tired in the last weeks. My head wanted to keep going, but my legs couldn’t keep up. I’ve never played as many matches as in these last weeks, with Ajax and Denmark. Although I always want to play, it’s just not possible. It’s good to keep that in mind now and then.”
It’s due to this over exertion that Eriksen’s performance has been sliding during the past weeks. “It’s hasn’t been great”, says the self-critical perfectionist. “I had another period like this recently. It’s part of the deal when you’re young.”
In contrast to his position with Ajax, where he currently plays more at the right, Eriksen is the undisputed number 10 of the Danish national team. “There, we also have two real defensive midfielders, and I have more energy for attacking. While, with Ajax, everyone’s creative.” Although that’s not the reason he’s had a few weaker performances, according to the Scandinavian.
Eriksen doesn’t rule out the Messi role, in which he would be the point of the attack. “Maybe that’s a free role”, he laughs away the comparison with FC Barcelona’s Argentinian super star. “The team has to run very well if you try that, or you need to have lots of time to tinker with it. But, really, I can’t compare myself to Messi. He also makes more individual plays than I do”, the international smiles again. And he adds : “Just like everyone else, I want to play, and it doesn’t matter where.”
Starting with Sunday’s match in Utrecht. This is a meeting that brings up bad memories for Eriksen. “We were completely destroyed there last year”, he says, referring to the 3-0 loss. “We need to make things right and win. We can do that if we play our game.”
Potentially, Eriksen will come up against his former team mate Rodney Sneijder in the Stadion Nieuw Galgenwaard. Sneijder has been loaned out by Ajax to FC Utrecht this season. The 20 year old Utrecht native is suffering an injury, and is a question mark for Sunday’s game.
“I played with Rodney for half a year in Ajax A1”, says Eriksen, looking back on the first half of the 2009/2010 season. “ We were competitors then and I took over his position (number 10). Therefore, he became left half. But before I came to Ajax, I had also seen him play at the under 17 European Cup, and he was really good.”
Asked about his former team mate’s attributes, Eriksen doesn’t need to think for long. “His left leg, of course. He has a fantastic shot and has scored with his left leg. But he works hard to be able to do that. Otherwise, just like me, he wants to have the ball in his feet as often as possible.”