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How one of Europe’s best playmakers became the key man for ‘the Harry Kane team’

Spurs' centre-forward remains a prolific goalscorer but it's Christian Eriksen who makes Spurs tick

“The Harry Kane team”

That’s how Pep Guardiola described Spurs in October of 2017.

The Man City boss later backtracked, saying ‘Pochettino’s team’ would have been a better moniker.

But in truth, Guardiola had initially expressed an opinion held by many fans — without Kane’s goalscoring prowess, Spurs would be nothing.

Harry’s good, but Spurs are far from a one-man team

Reuters
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Harry’s good, but Spurs are far from a one-man team

Evidence to the contrary is present in abundance.

Last season, while Kane claimed the Golden Boot, Dele Alli and Son Hueng-Min scored 18 and 14 league goals respectively.

Meaning Spurs were considerably less reliant on their first-choice centre-forward than almost every other team in the league.

So while it’s wrong to suggest that Spurs start and end with Kane, it’s fairer to say they look to one player to keep the ship steady…

Appreciation time

Getty - Contributor
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Appreciation time

Christian Eriksen is a gifted footballer.

He’s one of only eight players in Europe’s top five leagues to have reached double figures for goals and assists this season (at the time of writing).

And he’s the only non-Man City player to have achieved this feat in the Premier League.

As a measure of how difficult it is to excel in both departments, Mohamed Salah, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Kylian Mbappe, and Thomas Muller are all yet to reach double figures for both goals and assists in the league this campaign.

Anyone who is marginally ahead of this man in any area this season deserves recognition

AFP or licensors
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Anyone who is marginally ahead of this man in any area this season deserves recognition

Spurs may set up with the intention of Kane providing the finishing touch, but the ball has to get to him in the first place.

Eriksen is a master of drifting between the lines and ghosting into pockets of space.

His decision-making in the final third is exceptional.

When patience is required, he’s an oasis of calm.

When urgency is needed, he’s a switchblade.

Class acts

PA:Press Association
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Class acts

Only Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have completed more passes than Eriksen this season out of the league’s attack-minded players.

But he’s not just a selfless metronome.

No midfielder has attempted more shots on goal than Eriksen so far this campaign.

The Danish playmaker has let fly more often than Romelu Lukaku, Roberto Firmino, Alvaro Morata, Jamie Vardy, and a host of other notable forwards.

Few would have expected Lukaku’s shot count to be lower than Eriksen’s

Getty - Contributor
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Few would have expected Lukaku’s shot count to be lower than Eriksen’s

Eriksen’s dual personality is what makes him such an asset to Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

He shares Mesut Ozil’s passion for creating chances.

While simultaneously possessing Philippe Coutinho’s penchant for testing the keeper’s wrists from all angles.

The result is an aesthetically pleasing, efficient, and versatile attacking-midfielder.

Spurs’ beating heart.

Not shy of a shot

Getty - Contributor
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Not shy of a shot

Eriksen’s value is known inside Wembley’s walls.

While Kane and Alli’s impressive scoring records makes them obvious headline occupiers, the Danish midfielder’s talent is best evaluated up close.

Hence why Spurs fans selected him as their Player of the Year in 2014 and 2017 — the most recent award coming at the peak of Kane-mania.

One of the first names on the team sheet

Getty - Contributor
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One of the first names on the team sheet

The late Johan Cruyff said of Eriksen: “He’s a player I really like with all my heart.

“You can compare him with Brian and Michael Laudrup. Only time will tell if Eriksen can reach the same level as them.”

High praise from perhaps the ultimate authority on the game.

At 26-years-old, Eriksen is just about reaching his peak.

After another trophyless season, Spurs fans will have to endure another summer of transfer speculation concerning their key players.

Toby Alderweireld has one foot out the door as it is, while an ageing Mousa Dembele is set for a lucrative pre-retirement spell in China.

In the Eriksen fan club

PA:Empics Sport
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In the Eriksen fan club

It’s imperative the club does all the can to reassure Eriksen, Kane, Alli, Son and co that tangible success is imminent.

With a player of Eriksen’s quality at the helm, their trophy hopes can fly in the face of digital derision.

Spurs’ conductor has what it takes to guide the club to a crescendo.

Patience, that’s all… patience.


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