Why Christian Eriksen’s injury may actually be good news for Tottenham 2


When a new signing gets injured shortly after arriving at his new club, that’s ordinarily seen as a negative - it’s disruptive, it delays his settling-in period, and it takes him away from the first-team.

The news that Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen sustained an injury on international duty, and that he will now be missing for anything up to three months, is not to his team’s benefit in the immediate future, clearly, but there could be positives to it across a longer timescale.

The Dane is gifted, that’s always been apparent, but he has not settled that well in England. Whilst I’m aware of the statistics which suggest otherwise, his performances for his new side have been characterised by sporadic influence and declining relevance - in the games in which he’s started, the longer he’s been on the pitch the less involved he’s been.

While it’s cliched to talk about the physical demands of the Premier League, maybe it’s very pertinent in this instance; Eriksen doesn’t yet look fit enough for life in England. His ball-playing ability and his vision aren’t really in question, but as yet he doesn’t seem to have the physical stamina to impose those attributes throughout a game.

Even in the last few weeks, there have been signs that his confidence level has dropped, and that his departure from Ajax - and an inferior competition - has dented his self-belief. Had he been wearing an Ajax rather than a Tottenham shirt, he would likely have taken the opportunity he was presented with against Newcastle - and it’s little moments like that which can contribute to a slump in form. His sloppy passing against Sheriff, his quite abysmal set-piece delivery across a number of recent games - those are not the symptoms of a comfortable player.

Injury is a hindrance, but it’s also an opportunity. The Spurs medical staff will now for the first time have the opportunity to work with the midfielder on a ‘ground up’ basis; three months is a long time, and that kind of absence will require significant rehabilitation - but it will be in a direction specifically tailored towards Premier League rather than Eredivisie fitness, and that will be of benefit.

The Tottenham fans will have to forget about Eriksen for the time-being, and maybe that’s also in the player’s best interests. When he arrived at the club, he was expected to immediately remedy the team’s creative ailments, and because of his inability to do that, the initial enthusiasm the supporters felt for him has slightly ebbed-away. There’s a palpable ‘he’s not quite as good as we thought he was going to be’ attitude surrounding him, and injury will give him the chance to remove himself from that.

Starting well at a club is really important, and in effect, Eriksen has been afforded the opportunity to have another attempt at that. The fans have seen so little of him, that by the time he returns to the first-team - January/February - it will almost feel like he’s a new signing all over again. The stuttering start will be distant memory, and the swell of excitement is something that he can perhaps feed-off - and from a more solid physical starting-point.

A second-chance to make a good first impression.

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