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Eriksen puts faith in Ajax way

Published: Saturday 13 March 2010, 16.58CET
Christian Eriksen follows a long line of great Danes at AFC Ajax, and, after breaking into the first team, the 18-year-old is already making a case for a place in his country's FIFA World Cup squad.
by Berend Scholten & Remy Wigmans

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Published: Saturday 13 March 2010, 16.58CET

Eriksen puts faith in Ajax way

Christian Eriksen follows a long line of great Danes at AFC Ajax, and, after breaking into the first team, the 18-year-old is already making a case for a place in his country's FIFA World Cup squad.

Name: Christian Dannemann Eriksen
Club: AFC Ajax
Debut: 17/01/10 v NAC Breda (Eredivisie)
Position: midfielder
Nationality: Danish
Date of birth: 14/02/92

Eriksen is the latest in a long line of great Danes at Ajax, following the example of Brian and Michael Laudrup, Jesper Olsen, Frank Arnesen and Søren Lerby as he takes his first steps in the game. The skilful attacking midfielder reads the game well, is a brilliant passer and has already drawn comparisons with some of the best Ajax and Danish No10s. Eriksen signed professional terms with Ajax in October 2008, arriving from Odense BK, and has thrived in the famed youth system. He made his Eredivisie debut on 17 January and, after playing both legs of Ajax's UEFA Europa League last-32 tie with Juventus, made his international debut for Denmark against Austria on 3 March – becoming the third-youngest player after Harald Nielsen and Michael Laudrup to represent the country.

Breakthrough game:
NAC Breda 1-1 Ajax
17/01/10, Eredivisie

Eriksen joined up with the first team during Ajax's winter training camp in January and quickly impressed coach Martin Jol, who surprised many by giving the youngster his senior debut before the month was out. "It is all going much faster then expected," Eriksen said of being drafted into the full squad. "In one year I have moved from the B youth team [for 16-year-olds] to the first team."

He says:
"Ajax give their prospects a chance at a young age – that is what the club are famous for – and, historically, Danish players always felt very good here. That was also an important factor."
Eriksen explains why he joined Ajax despite interest from the likes of FC Barcelona and AC Milan.

"I was a bit nervous, but I was also eager to prove myself. My goal was to be in the Denmark Under-21 squad next year, but now I have already surpassed that. I will frame and hang up my shirt at home as a souvenir."
The tyro speaks about his Denmark debut.

They say:
"He is a boy we consider a product of our academy, but in reality he joined us at an age where he already fell into the Under-18 category. We had to pay quite a lot of money to sign him. In England this wouldn't be considered expensive, but in Holland it is a big investment. But it seems his talents are shining through, because after a short period in the U18s he is now with us in the first team. He is a player in the same tradition as Rafael van der Vaart or Wesley Sneijder – the same type of player, a sort of playmaker. There is depth to his game. He reads the game well, he's capable of feeding the attackers, he is skilful. He is a player who will turn out to be either very good or even great."
Ajax coach Martin Jol talking to UEFA.com in January

"I won't put too much pressure on him, but he is a good talent and they have spotted that at Ajax. He is with a good club who use talents when they are good enough. It's not about being 17 – if he's good enough, they'll use him. And I think he is coming at the right moment, he's emerging at a club with a good style. I think in the future, if he doesn't get big injuries or whatever, he can be a man for the Danish team also."
Denmark coach Morten Olsen talking to UEFA.com in February

"For his age he is a fantastic player. If he can keep on developing, he can become one of the best No10s in Ajax's history."
Ajax youth coach Frank de Boer

Last updated: 09/12/12 9.23CET

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