Why The Next Spurs Manager Must Build A Side Around Eriksen
After nine goals and ten assists in 31 appearances this season for Spurs, it’s vital that whoever comes in as Tottenham Hotspur manager in the summer makes Christian Eriksen the nucleus of the side, similar to Luka Modric’s role during Redknapp’s era.
The Danish international can be argued as the only player recruited in the summer who has settled in well to this current Spurs side. His touch, creativity, delivery and eye for goal were clear to see in the Lilywhites’ 5-1 win over Sunderland on Monday night, with one goal and two assists.
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville both praised the former Ajax player after the game, but one particular comment from Jamie Carragher interested me, when he compared Christian Eriksen to Luka Modric when the Croatian first arrived at Spurs in 2008.
I tend to agree with Carragher in elements of what he said, as Eriksen has mainly been used on the left under Tim Sherwood, as was Modric in Harry Redknapp’s early days at Spurs.
The Croatian was later moved into his favoured central position, and it can be argued this should be the same for Christian Eriksen, either in central midfield or playing in the number 10 role.
Spurs have lost just two Premier League games when Eriksen has started on the left or in central midfield, the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool and the 1-0 home loss to the Gooners.
£11 million looks a bargain for the 22-year-old, who certainly has his best years ahead of him at White Hart Lane; similar to Luka Modric who arrived at Spurs when he was 23, and Spurs fans definitely saw him grow as a player in his four years in North London.
Some may argue that Eriksen is the bargain of the season. Since January, in the Premier League and European competitions, Christian Eriksen has accumulated more goals and assists (8 goals and 7 assists) than Oscar (3 goals and 6 assists), Juan Mata (despite no European games -3 goals and 5 assists) David Silva (3 goals and 6 assists) and Santi Cazorla (3 goals and 2 assists.)
His move from Ajax was relatively low key compared to the hype surrounding Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela’s move to N17 from Valencia and AS Roma, respectively.
While those two players have had indifferent starts to their Spurs career, Christian Eriksen has shone, linking up well with Emmanuel Adebayor since Tim Sherwood was appointed on an 18-month contract; an argument to keep Sherwood at the helm no-one stood out under Andre Villas-Boas before he was sacked.
One issue with Eriksen playing on the left wing is that he doesn’t work hard enough to start on the left, which was evident in the first goal at Anfield. Spurs can’t afford a luxury player in their current first XI, but they need do a player who can create an opportunity out of nothing.
Unlike Jan Vertonghen, who looks like his future is elsewhere, Eriksen claims he will not leave Spurs in the summer if they do not qualify for the Champions League, a comforting thought for Spurs fans.
Whoever comes into White Hart Lane in the summer, whether it be Louis Van Gaal or Mauricio Pochettino, it is vital that the team is built around Christian Eriksen.
Follow Matt Walsh on Twitter, @mattywalsh8