How Christian Eriksen's Brentford Spell Saved His Career

The midfielder faces his former club on Saturday
13:01, 08 Oct 2023

The date was 12 June 2021. It was the early days of Euro 2020 and Copenhagen’s Parken Stadion played host to Denmark’s tournament opener against Finland. Shortly before half-time there was a moment that made time stop, sending shockwaves around the world. That was when Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The traumatic scenes that followed were difficult to process as everyone feared the worst. But thanks to the valiant efforts of his teammates - particularly his captain Simon Kjaer - and the medics on the scene, Eriksen miraculously survived.

The world was delighted to see the midfielder make a full recovery and he was fitted with an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) but no one would have even contemplated the idea that he would play football again.

10 months later and Eriksen was back playing at the highest level with a smile on his face. After Italian rules meant the 30-year-old couldn't continue his journey in Serie A, Eriksen parted ways with Inter Milan and returned to England for his second chapter in the Premier League. Many would have expected a return to Tottenham Hotspur but it was the division debutants Brentford who won the race for his signature.

He reunited with Bees boss Thomas Frank, whom he had known from when he was a teenager playing for Denmark’s Under-17s while Frank was the coach. The pair remained in contact when Eriksen went on to Ajax and their friendship was rekindled six years ago when the Brentford manager originally joined the west London outfit’s backroom staff.

Brentford’s epic journey to where they are now is a remarkable tale and they have established themselves as the business model in football to follow. Their scouting and recruitment always pays off, and when it comes to making a profit they are one of the best in the game. While the capture of Eriksen wasn’t the traditional method of how the Bees acquire new talent, it was a move that felt right for all parties.


They are a side who like to play an expansive style of football and, with Eriksen having all the attributes as a creator, his arrival was expected to add a new and positive dynamic to Frank’s team if the player could return to his best level. And the most amazing thing is, Eriksen continued to shine with the ball at his feet. After all he went through, this was still the same mesmerising playmaker of old.

A goal and two assists for his new side in his first five games showed fans the quality of player Eriksen is. His influence led to an upturn in results, with the Bees stunning their west London neighbours Chelsea with a 4-1 hammering at Stamford Bridge, where Eriksen scored his first goal for the club. He showed that he still had much more to give and his bright start to life in TW8 even got him back into the Denmark squad.

Eriksen made it to the Qatar World Cup, something nobody could have predicted at the European Championships. While it was a disappointment for his nation, who finished bottom of their group, it was vindication for the player. Eriksen played every minute of Denmark’s brief spell in the tournament.

To see someone go through what he went through back doing what he loves most was been truly inspiring... One of the greatest sports stories in history.

His efforts for Brentford earned him a transfer to Manchester United, where he was crucial in a season where they finished third and reached two cup finals, including winning the Carabao Cup. He might be a Red Devil now but Eriksen is effusive in his thanks to Brentford for getting him back to where he belongs.

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