Christian belief

Eriksen reckons paying him too much attention could backfire on Ireland

The Tottenham Hotspur playmaker has been Denmark’s key player in this qualification campaign.

Christian Eriksen Christian Eriksen training with Denmark this afternoon at the Parken Stadium. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

– Paul Dollery reports from Copenhagen

DENMARK PLAYMAKER CHRISTIAN Eriksen insists he’s not too bothered about the prospect of being man-marked in tomorrow night’s World Cup play-off first leg against Ireland.

In fact, the Tottenham Hotspur star believes that if the visitors do end up paying him too much attention at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, it could allow his team-mates to capitalise.

Eriksen was Denmark’s top goalscorer in their qualifying campaign, hitting the net on eight occasions. The attacking midfielder also chipped in with three assists as the Danes finished second to Poland in Group E.

“I’ve been man-marked a few times in my career so far,” Eriksen said at today’s pre-match press conference in the Danish capital. “I don’t know if Ireland will do it. Like I’ve been asked before, I don’t really mind if they do it.

“That probably makes more space for some other players, and with the players we have and the quality we have, we could take advantage of that. It’s Ireland’s decision but for me it doesn’t really matter.”

While Eriksen has been their talisman, Denmark have also had major contributions to their bid to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia from the likes of Werder Bremen midfielder Thomas Delaney, Atalanta striker Andreas Cornelius and Feyenoord’s Nicolai Jorgensen, who was the top goalscorer in the Dutch top flight last season.

For both club and country, Eriksen has been in the best form of his career recently. The World Cup would be a worthy stage for a player of such ability, but for now at least, Ireland stand between the Danes and their first major tournament since Euro 2012.

Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League - Group H - Wembley Stadium Eriksen celebrates after scoring in Tottenham's recent Champions League win against Real Madrid. Mike Egerton Mike Egerton

“I think the whole team should be at a World Cup, with the quality and the potential we have in the squad, and what we have shown in most of the games in qualification,” the 25-year-old said.

“Of course it would be a pity to miss out. My form, I’m feeling very good, feeling confident, and I’m going into the game like every other game; trying to be involved and create as much as possible.”

According to Eriksen, Ireland will be satisfied to take a goalless draw back to Dublin for Tuesday’s second leg. However, he doesn’t expect Denmark to be frustrated by the contrasting approach from Martin O’Neill’s side.

He said: “We’ll go out, do our thing, and of course if they — as they’ve done in their previous games — have a lot of people behind the ball, we need to play quick and open up the game.

“If you have one team who wants to play and one team who doesn’t want to play, of course the game will be maybe dragged out. If it’s 0-0, for them probably it’s a good result.

“We want to score and create chances. We’ll probably get fewer chances than in other games but we’ll take as many as we can.” / YouTube

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