Placardized and placed on the transfer list this winter by the management of Inter, Christian Eriksen has finally turned the situation around and ends the season in the shoes of an indisputable holder in the midfield of the champion team of Italy.
Who would have thought, six months ago, that Christian Eriksen would now be an indisputable holder at Inter? Remember. On January 28, 2020, Christian Eriksen, eager to change air after a Champions League final in Tottenham, signed with Inter Milan for 4 years. A great blow at that time as the Danish international was very much courted. Yes but now, after long fruitless months, the magic did not work. Eriksen was failing to impose himself in Antonio Conte’s playing system and doubt was already emerging. Did Eriksen make the right choice in joining the Lombard capital? From the summer transfer window of 2020, Inter was doing everything to refurbish the player trained at Ajax. Exchange, transfer, loan. Everything was good to find the 20 million euros invested previously.
Despite the interests of Paris, Valencia, Barcelona and even Tottenham, nothing worked and Eriksen ultimately remained in Italy. And after having lived the worst, the storm has now passed and the former technical leader of Spurs is experiencing a real renaissance in Lombardy. “Six months ago I was in a certain situation, but now we have won a trophy and all I can say is that I am very happy to be at Inter. (…) I am perhaps living the best moment of my career ” he explained last week at the Gazzetta dello Sport through an interview carried out by the transalpine daily. Yes because the 29-year-old will finally be able to glean a trophy with this Scudetto. A first since leaving Ajax in 2013 after finishing a finalist in the EFL Cup in 2015, runner-up in England in 2017, finalist in the Champions League in 2019 with Spurs and runner-up in Italy and Europa League finalist in 2020 with Inter. A very important success, in view of the various collective failures of the player, and symbolic in view of the hegemony of Juventus for 10 years. Inter have returned to the top with Eriksen and vice versa.
A challenge coupled with a tactical change
But then, what happened in just four months that number 24 became so important after bringing next to nothing? The person concerned made his mea culpa. “I came with an open mind to learn. What I didn’t understand at first was that I had to follow the Conte system all the time. That I had to perform and remember all the games he had prepared for the team. Previously I was more used to intuition, I was free to make decisions in a second based on what I saw. But with the coach, there is always a general plan to follow. You have to be ready, always knowing where your teammates are and where they can go. I had to learn all of this, adjust to a different pace, and then in January we had a chat and I started playing more and showing that I was capable. “
The Middelfart native puts it well. We had to adapt to Antonio Conte’s game system. Usually in 3-5-2, Inter could not offer Eriksen a number 10 place. But given the strength and talent of the player, the former coach of Juventus has tried something with the Dane. In mid-January, after an Italian Cup match against Fiorentina where Eriksen had been positioned as a relay midfielder, recovering limit, Conte explained that he may have found the magic formula. “As far as Christian is concerned, as I said before, he shows a positive attitude and works very hard. I want him to take on a different role because we have no alternative to (Marcelo) Brozovic. We would like to continue with Christian. We want to involve him as much as possible. “ Everything has improved rapidly since then. From February 14, one month after the Italian Cup meeting against Fio, Eriksen played all 15 league games with 12 starts for two goals, including one against Crotone, the match that offered the title to the Nerazzurri.
Tale the magician
If the player has sometimes appeared cold with Antonio Conte, it seems that the relationship between the two men has really improved. “Conte is very important for everyone, also for the way we play. We follow his instructions to the letter and it shows on the ground. We are all happy to have won with him. But his stay is not my decision: it depends on him and the club (…) Look at his CV … Where he goes, he wins and it’s impressive. I imagined his winning spirit when I signed, then I saw him with my own eyes, talking to him and seeing… ” A true declaration of love for a coach who has already proven that he is capable of miracles with this workforce, judging by the enormous progress of Romelu Lukaku which has accompanied his return to form since his arrival in Italy.
In addition to having restored confidence in his player, Antonio Conte managed to give him back an importance in his game system, in a position unknown to him until then. Now repositioned in line with Inter’s midfield three, Eriksen is placed lower on the pitch and alternates between his half of the field and the opposing half of the field. However, he continues to have influence in the offensive play of his team and he is not confined to a defensive role. With an average of one shot per match, 19.3 successful passes in the opposing camp (against 13.5 in his own camp), 1.2 key passes and 2 chances created per match, he continues to bring all his technical quality to offensive animation. Judging from the heatmap of his season, he’s absolutely everywhere on the pitch and even though he has a preference for the front, he can’t help but look behind him and turn into a regista, a kind of attacking midfielder positioned above the defense like a recovering midfielder. With this new role, Christian Eriksen has finally found his place at Inter and no doubt that if he stays at Milan next season, and Conte is still in place, he will be an important player in the technician’s game plan. transalpine which breathed new life into the Dane’s career.