‘I want to play’: Christian Eriksen targets Denmark return for 2022 World Cup
Christian Eriksen wants to play for Denmark in this year’s World Cup as the midfielder targets a remarkable return to the national team.
The 29-year-old’s world was turned upside down in June when he suffered a cardiac arrest during the Euro 2020 match against Finland at Copenhagen’s Parken stadium. Eriksen received life-saving treatment on the pitch before being taken to hospital and was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device.
Eriksen has not played since the incident, and left Internazionale last month as Serie A rules would not allow him to play with an ICD. Eriksen has been stepping up individual training and told Danish broadcaster DR1 that his goal is to play for his country again.
“My goal is to play in the World Cup in Qatar,” Eriksen said. “I want to play. That’s been my mindset all along. It’s a goal, a dream. Whether I’ll be picked is another thing. But it’s my dream to come back. I’m sure I can because I don’t feel any different. Physically, I’m back in top shape.
“My dream is to rejoin the national team and play at Parken again and prove that it was a one-timer and that it won’t happen again,” Eriksen added. “I want to prove I’ve moved on and that I can play [for] the national team again. Again, it’s up to the manager to assess my level. But my heart is not an obstacle.”
Eriksen has spent some time training on his own at former club Odense, and was recently seen practising alone at Swiss club Chiasso. He accepts that playing for his country again is “still some time away – so until then I’m just going to play football and prove that I’m back at the same level.” Denmark have already secured their qualification for the World Cup, which begins in November.
In the TV interview, Eriksen also spoke about how he “died for five minutes” on the pitch in June, and thanked the doctors who saved him, his teammates and well-wishers. “At the hospital, they kept saying I’d received more and more flowers,” he said. “It was weird because I didn’t expect people to send flowers because I’d died for five minutes.”
“It was quite extraordinary but it was very nice of everyone and it’s been a big help to me to receive all those best wishes. And people still write to me .. all the fans who’ve sent thousands of letters and emails and flowers, or who’ve come up to me on the street, I thank them all for the support … that helped me through this.”
Eriksen spent six-and-a-half seasons at Tottenham before joining Inter, and the player’s agent, Martin Schoots, has said a return to play in England would “absolutely feel like coming home.”
“It is going really well for Christian,” Schoots added. “He had all the medical checks just before Christmas and the results were so good, we expect him to be involved in group training with a team some time later in January.”