Biography and family
Christian Dannemann Eriksen (born 14 February 1992) is a Danish professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur and the Denmark national team. He made his debut for the Denmark national team in March 2010, and was the youngest player of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In 2011, Eriksen was named Danish Football Player of the Year, Dutch Football Talent of the Year, Ajax Talent of the Year (Marco van Basten Award), and made the UEFA Euro U-21 Team of the Tournament. He also won the Eredivisie with Ajax in 2010–11, 2011–12 and in 2012–13 before departing for Tottenham in August 2013 for a reported fee of around £11.5 million. He won the Tottenham Hotspur Player of the Year award twice, for the 2013–14 and 2016–17 seasons. In 2018 he won his fifth Danish Football Player of the Year award.
Eriksen lives with his girlfriend Sabrina Kvist Jensen in Hampstead, London. Their first child, Alfred, was born on 4 June 2018.
Early career in Middelfart and Odense
Born in Middelfart, Denmark, Eriksen followed in his father Thomas’ footsteps when he started playing football in the academy of local side, Middelfart. Eriksen’s father was also one of the coaches at the time and in 2004 they helped the youth side finish unbeaten in the local youth championship for the third time in a period of four years. The following year, he joined Odense Boldklub who competed in the Danish youth championships and within a year had helped the club to an age-group title. It was at OB that Eriksen first began showing signs of his technical ability, with his dribbling and free-kick techniques lauded by then-coach, Tonny Hermansen. His form at youth level attracted the attention of a number of major European clubs, including the likes Chelsea and Barcelona. Eriksen ultimately underwent trials with both clubs as well as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Milan, but finally decided to move to Ajax, stating, “My first step should not be too big. I knew that playing in the Netherlands would be very good for my development. Then Ajax arrived and that was a fantastic option.”
2008–2010: Youth and first-team squad
On 17 October 2008, Eriksen signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Amsterdam-based club, Ajax. The transfer fee received by OB was estimated at €1 million (£847,199) while Middelfart also received a sum of €35 000 which they later used to construct a football pitch. He worked his way through the youth teams at Ajax and was promoted to the first team squad in January 2010, where he was given the number 51 shirt. Later that month, he made his first team debut in a 1–1 Eredivisie with NAC Breda. He scored his first goal for Ajax on 25 March in a 6–0 win over Go Ahead Eagles in the Dutch Cup and extended his contract with the club the following month. On 6 May, he played in the second match of the final of the 2009–10 Dutch Cup as Ajax beat Feyenoord 4–1, prevailing 6–1 on aggregate. At the end of his first professional season with the club, Eriksen had played 21 competitive matches, scoring one goal, and had made his international debut for Denmark. Eriksen’s form throughout the campaign earned praise from manager Martin Jol who compared him to former youth products Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart as well as Danish legend, Michael Laudrup for his reading of the game in the traditional “number 10” role.
2010–2013: Breakthrough years
Eriksen took the number eight jersey ahead of the following campaign and began the 2010–11 season well, scoring his first Ajax league goal on 29 August 2010 in an away victory over De Graafschap. Over the course of the next few months, he scored his first home goal at the Amsterdam Arena, in a 3–0 Cup victory over BV Veendam, and his first European goal, in a 3–0 UEFA Europa League win over Anderlecht. In between the milestone goals, Eriksen was also named Danish Talent of the Year. His growing capabilities as the team’s playmaker saw him become an undisputed starter in the side and he helped Ajax to their first Eredivisie title in seven years. At the end of the season he was named Ajax’s Talent of the Year. His form throughout the campaign also earned him the Dutch Football Talent of the Year award which saw him become only the second Danish player to win the award since Jon Dahl Tomasson in 1996. Johan Cruyff, whose panel selected Eriksen for the award, described Eriksen as a typical product of the Danish school and added to previous comparisons between him and Brian and Michael Laudrup.” On 18 October 2011, Eriksen scored his first goal in the UEFA Champions League when Ajax beat Dinamo Zagreb 2–0 in the group stage. In the return fixture the following month, he provided assists to teammates Gregory van der Wiel and Siem de Jong as Ajax recorded a 4–0 victory. Five days later he was named Danish Football Player of the Year in recognition of his role in helping Ajax to the league title the season before and in Denmark’s successful UEFA Euro 2012 qualification campaign. Eriksen continued to impress for Ajax and his strong contribution, both in terms of goal and assist returns, helped the club to a second consecutive league title. Eriksen and Ajax repeated the feat in the 2012–13 season following which he opted not to renew his contract with the club. With only one year remaining on his current contract, Eriksen was permitted to search for a new club and he agreed terms with Tottenham Hotspur in England. Eriksen departed Ajax having made 162 appearances across all competitions and scored 32 goals. Along with his league success, he had also featured in three consecutive editions of the Johan Cruyff Shield, which Ajax won once.
2013–2016: Premier League introduction and League Cup runner-up
On 30 August 2013, Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur announced that they had completed the transfer of Eriksen from Ajax in a deal believed to be worth £11 million (€12.45 million). Eriksen joined the club on the same day as Erik Lamela, who joined from Roma, and Vlad Chiricheș, who joined from Steaua București, and took the club’s total spending for the 2013 summer transfer window to £109.5 million. He made his league debut against Norwich City on 14 September 2013 and provided an assist for Gylfi Sigurðsson in a 2–0 victory. After the match, Spurs manager André Villas-Boas commented, “It was a great debut for Christian, he is a pure number 10, a creative player and his individual quality made all the difference.” Five days later, Eriksen “clipped a wonderful dipping shot” over the goalkeeper to score his first Tottenham goal and complete a 3–0 win over Tromsø IL in the Europa League. He added to his Tottenham goal tally with a goal from a free kick in a 1–1 draw against West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day 2013, and the second goal in Spurs’ 1–2 away win against Manchester United on 1 January 2014. On 23 March, after goals from Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana had given Southampton a 2–0 lead against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, Eriksen scored twice to level the score and assisted Sigurðsson to score the winning goal. He continued his goalscoring form on 12 April 2014 when he scored a stoppage-time equaliser to help Tottenham come from 3–0 down to draw 3–3 at West Brom. By the end of the season, he had scored ten goals and registered 13 assists across all competitions, won the Danish Football Player of the Year award and was named Tottenham’s Player of the Season. Ahead of the 2014–15 campaign, Tottenham appointed Mauricio Pochettino as new club manager after the unsuccessful period under Villas-Boas and interim-manager Tim Sherwood. Between November and December 2014, Eriksen scored late winners against Aston Villa, Hull City and Swansea City which he credited to the Argentine manager for raising the team’s fitness levels. By the end of the calendar year, Eriksen had scored 12 goals from open play – more than any other player in England – and was soon after awarded his second consecutive Danish Footballer of the Year award. On 28 January 2015, Eriksen scored twice in a 2–2 (3–2 aggregate) win over Sheffield United to send Tottenham into the League Cup Final. His first goal, a 30-yard curling free kick, was later lauded by former professionals Michael Owen and Gary Neville. The final, played against London rivals Chelsea, took place on 1 March and ended in a 2–0 defeat for Tottenham. Eriksen completed the 2014–15 campaign having featured in every Premier League game for Mauricio Pochettino, starting all-but one match, and scored 12 goals across all competitions. On 9 June 2015, amid speculation that he would be joining Manchester United, Eriksen confirmed to Danish media whilst on international duty that he would stay at Tottenham for the foreseeable future and was quoted as saying, “I feel right at home at Tottenham and I haven’t thought about leaving yet.” He did in fact remain with the club and scored his first goals of the season in October, netting from two free-kicks in a 2–2 draw with Swansea. In January 2016, Eriksen was once again named Danish Footballer of the Year. In doing so he became the first ever player to win the award in three consecutive years. He ultimately scored 6 goals and registered 13 assists as Tottenham ended the league season in third place, thereby qualifying for the following season’s Champions League campaign.
2016–present: Premier League runner-up and PFA Team of the Year
Ahead of the following season, Eriksen signed a new long-term contract with Tottenham and starred once again for the club, scoring eight goals and assisting a further 15 as the club ended the league campaign as runners-up to champions Chelsea. Eriksen’s tally of assists was bettered only by Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne who set up 18 goals for the season. Eriksen also recorded the joint-most assists in the FA Cup and later won the Tottenham Player of the Season award, claiming the award for the second time after previously winning it in his debut season with the club. Eriksen broke the record for the most goals scored by a Danish player in the Premier League when he scored his 33rd goal in a 3–2 win over West Ham United on 23 September 2017, surpassing the record previously held by Nicklas Bendtner. On 9 December, he made his 200th career appearance for Tottenham and marked the occasion by scoring in a 5–1 Premier League win over Stoke City. The following month, he scored his 50th goal for the club when he netted after just 11 seconds in the 2–0 league win over Manchester United. Eriksen’s goal was the third-fastest goal ever scored in the Premier League era, bettered only by Alan Shearer and former Spurs captain Ledley King. On 17 March 2018, Eriksen scored twice in an FA Cup fixture against Swansea to send Spurs to the semi-final for the second season running. On 1 April, Eriksen scored a 25-yard goal in the away match against Chelsea, helping Tottenham to their first win in 28 years at Stamford Bridge in a match that finished 3–1. Later that month, in the reverse fixture against Stoke, Eriksen scored twice to earn Tottenham a 2–1 win. Following the match, however, teammate Harry Kane, who was challenging for the season’s Golden Boot award, claimed to have made the last touch on the ball for the second goal. Tottenham appealed to the Premier League panel who agreed that the ball touched Kane’s shoulder and awarded him the goal. On 14 April, Eriksen was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the first time, alongside teammates Kane and Jan Vertonghen. In the 2018–19 season, Eriksen scored his first goal of the season in a Champions League away match against Inter Milan. The match ended in a 2–1 loss for Tottenham, but in the home game against Inter, Eriksen scored again in the only goal of the game, giving Tottenham a 1–0 victory. He scored his first Premier League goal of the season on 15 December 2018 in the home match against Burnley, a late goal that earned Tottenham a 1–0 win. On 31 March, during a 2–1 defeat to Liverpool, he became only the second player after David Beckham to record 10+ assists in four successive Premier League seasons. Three days later, on the occasion of his 200th Premier League appearance, he assisted Son Heung-min for the first ever goal at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before scoring a goal of his own in a 2–0 win over Crystal Palace.
Eriksen was called up to the Denmark national under-17 football team in July 2007, and impressed in his debut for the team on 31 July. In 2008, he scored nine goals in 16 games for the U-17s, and was named Danish U-17 Talent of the Year by the Danish FA. He was also one of four nominees for the 2008 Danish Talent of the Year award, which was won by Mathias Jørgensen. He played 27 games for the under-17 team until February 2009. He played a total of eight games for the Denmark U-18 and Denmark U-19 teams during 2009. Eriksen was also called up for the Danish U-21 squad to the European championship in Denmark in 2011, the Danish team only participated in the group stage and Eriksen scored a goal against Belarus.
Eriksen received his first senior Denmark call-up in February 2010, making his debut in Denmark’s friendly match against Austria in March, to become Denmark’s fourth youngest full international, being the youngest debutant since Michael Laudrup. On 28 May 2010, Denmark coach Morten Olsen announced that Eriksen would be part of the final squad of 23 participating in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He was the youngest player participating in the tournament. At the World Cup, Eriksen played two matches, against the Netherlands and Japan, but Denmark were unable to progress beyond the group stage. On 9 February 2011, in a 2–1 friendly loss at home against England, Eriksen was named man of the match, and was praised for his performance by a number of prominent footballing figures, including Chelsea star Frank Lampard, Man Utd star Rio Ferdinand (on Twitter), manager Morten Olsen and several media experts in Denmark and England. On 4 June 2011, Eriksen scored his first national team goal to give Denmark a 2–0 lead over Iceland in their Euro 2012 qualifier. In doing so, he became the youngest Danish player ever to score a goal in European qualification, being nine days younger than Michael Laudrup when he scored his first goal in 1983.
2018 FIFA World Cup qualification and tournament
In the build-up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Denmark were drawn in UEFA Group E alongside the likes of Poland and Romania. Eriksen played a key-role during the nation’s qualification campaign during which time he scored eight goals to earn Denmark a play-off against the Republic of Ireland. The first leg of the play-off ended in a 0–0 home draw before Eriksen netted a hat-trick in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium in a 5–1 win to earn Denmark a spot at the World Cup. Eriksen’s treble took his tally to 11 goals for the qualification campaign, bettered only by Poland’s Robert Lewandowski (16) and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (15) in Europe, and earned the praise of national team manager Åge Hareide who stated that Eriksen was one of the top 10 players in the world. In Denmark’s opening match at the tournament, Eriksen assisted Yussuf Poulsen for the only goal in a 1–0 win over Peru before scoring his first goal for the tournament in the 1–1 draw with Australia the following week. Denmark ultimately progressed from their group after which they were drawn with Croatia in the Round of 16. There they were defeated after a penalty shoot-out, with Eriksen being one of three players to have his spot-kick saved by Croatia goalkeeper Danijel Subašić. On 9 September 2018, Eriksen scored twice in a 2–0 win over Wales to lead Denmark to victory in the nation’s inaugural UEFA Nations League match.
Awards and achievements
Interviews, opinions and scandals
|League||Season||Club||Apps||Goals||Assists||Min. played||Cards (Y/S/R)|
|Premier League||2019/2020||Tottenham Hotspur||20||2||2||1091||5/0/0|
|Premier League||2018/2019||Tottenham Hotspur||35||8||12||2772||3/0/0|
|Premier League||2017/2018||Tottenham Hotspur||37||10||10||3226||0/0/0|
|Premier League||2016/2017||Tottenham Hotspur||36||8||15||3167||0/0/0|
|Premier League||2015/2016||Tottenham Hotspur||35||6||13||2941||2/0/0|
|Premier League||2014/2015||Tottenham Hotspur||38||10||0||3141||4/0/0|
|Premier League||2013/2014||Tottenham Hotspur||25||7||0||1982||3/0/0|
|League||Season||Club||Apps||Goals||Assists||Min. played||Cards (Y/S/R)|
|League Cup||2019/2020||Tottenham Hotspur||1||0||0||24||0/0/0|
|FA Cup||2019/2020||Tottenham Hotspur||2||0||0||180||0/0/0|
|League Cup||2018/2019||Tottenham Hotspur||4||0||1||354||1/0/0|
|FA Cup||2018/2019||Tottenham Hotspur||0||0||0||0||0/0/0|
|League Cup||2017/2018||Tottenham Hotspur||1||0||0||9||0/0/0|
|FA Cup||2017/2018||Tottenham Hotspur||3||2||1||209||0/0/0|
|League Cup||2016/2017||Tottenham Hotspur||1||2||0||60||0/0/0|
|FA Cup||2016/2017||Tottenham Hotspur||3||1||6||260||0/0/0|
|League Cup||2015/2016||Tottenham Hotspur||1||0||0||90||0/0/0|
|FA Cup||2015/2016||Tottenham Hotspur||4||1||0||300||0/0/0|
|FA Cup||2014/2015||Tottenham Hotspur||2||0||0||116||0/0/0|
|League Cup||2014/2015||Tottenham Hotspur||4||2||0||360||0/0/0|
|League Cup||2013/2014||Tottenham Hotspur||1||0||0||68||0/0/0|
|FA Cup||2013/2014||Tottenham Hotspur||1||0||0||90||0/0/0|
|League||Season||Club||Apps||Goals||Assists||Min. played||Cards (Y/S/R)|
|UEFA Champions League||2020/2021||Internazionale||1||0||0||79||0/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2019/2020||Internazionale||6||2||1||240||1/0/0|
|UEFA Champions League||2019/2020||Tottenham Hotspur||5||1||1||295||0/0/0|
|UEFA Champions League||2018/2019||Tottenham Hotspur||12||2||4||1003||0/0/0|
|UEFA Champions League||2017/2018||Tottenham Hotspur||6||2||1||535||0/0/0|
|Club Friendlies||2017||Tottenham Hotspur||2||1||0||136||0/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2016/2017||Tottenham Hotspur||2||1||1||100||0/0/0|
|UEFA Champions League||2016/2017||Tottenham Hotspur||6||0||1||451||0/0/0|
|Club Friendlies||2016||Tottenham Hotspur||1||0||0||46||0/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2015/2016||Tottenham Hotspur||7||1||1||574||0/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2014/2015||Tottenham Hotspur||4||0||0||257||0/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2013/2014||Tottenham Hotspur||9||3||0||454||1/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2012/2013||Ajax||2||0||0||210||1/0/0|
|UEFA Champions League||2012/2013||Ajax||6||1||0||540||0/0/0|
|UEFA Champions League||2011/2012||Ajax||6||1||0||530||0/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2011/2012||Ajax||2||0||0||150||0/0/0|
|UEFA Champions League||2010/2011||Ajax||8||0||0||233||0/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2010/2011||Ajax||4||1||0||333||1/0/0|
|UEFA Europa League||2009/2010||Ajax||2||0||0||107||1/0/0|
|League||Season||National team||Apps||Goals||Assists||Min. played||Cards (Y/S/R)|
|UEFA Nations League||2020/2021||Denmark||4||2||0||360||0/0/0|
|UEFA Nations League||2018/2019||Denmark||3||2||0||226||0/0/0|
|WC Qualification Europe||2018||Denmark||12||11||3||1080||1/0/0|
|WC Qualification Europe||2014||Denmark||10||0||0||863||0/0/0|