English Premiership

'Great Dane' to lead the way

2015-02-28 09:02
Christian Eriksen (Getty Images)

London - If Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen gets his hands on the League Cup after the final with Chelsea on Sunday he can thank his father who coached him and was his harshest critic.

The 23-year-old Danish international will walk out onto the Wembley turf with the hopes of trophy-starved Spurs fans on his shoulders.

The free-kick specialist with the knack of scoring late goals has been to Wembley before but did not play having been injured when his country faced England in a friendly last March.

This time he will have a key role for Spurs as they try to lift silverware for the first time since their 2008 League Cup triumph over Chelsea.

Tottenham have struggled against Chelsea in the league in recent years but thumped them 5-3 at White Hart Lane on New Year's Day which has given them belief they can repeat the feat.

"We showed that we can play against them and beat them, having played a few games before that where we tried but couldn't succeed, and I think it gives us a lot of confidence that we are able to do it again," said Eriksen.

The softly-spoken classic number 10, who wears 23, is the most important player to come out of Denmark since Michael and Brian Laudrup but he is comfortable with the pressure.

"A lot of players who start young always get the comparison from other people who are a bit older or from the Danish newspapers," he told a pre-League Cup final news conference.

"With the Laudrups that started early, so they began to put a bit of pressure on me. I've been used to it since I started playing. Luckily I'm starting to make my own (reputation)."

Eriksen has been Denmark's footballer of the year for the past two years and was his country's youngest debutant since Michael Laudrup when playing against Austria in March 2010.

The midfielder joined Ajax Amsterdam from Denmark's OB Odense in 2008, scoring 33 goals in 161 games as they won three straight Eredivisie titles through to the 2012/13 season.

Eriksen joined Spurs before the start of last season for 11 million pounds on the recommendation of the club's Belgium central defender Jan Vertonghen who played with him at Ajax.

His influence at Tottenham has grown steadily under manager Mauricio Pochettino and he is now their key outfield player. He has scored 11 goals in 34 games in all competitions this season.

"If you have a plan from your manager you know what to do and what you're capable of and you just want to show it and you get the confidence from the manager to do what you're good at. I think that definitely helps you," he said.

Eriksen has also had the support of his father Thomas, a former player who coached his son as a youngster and was not afraid to tell him some home truths when things went wrong.

"He was a footballer as well so he knew a lot of things and he knew what he wanted. But of course there were some times when I had a bad game and he would tell me to do better.

"After I spoke to him sometimes I've locked the door to my room but he has the discussion with me and I'm listening and after that it's a new day. That's football."

Eriksen was speaking at a Tottenham Hotspur Foundation event highlighting the club's Education and Football Development Centre programme. For more see tottenhamhotspur.com/foundation

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