“I didn’t come here to sit on the bench” | Christian Eriksen opens up on why he joined Manchester United and the progression under Erik ten Hag

Eriksen has established himself under Ten Hag since his summer arrival as the Red Devils make new strides with the Dutchman on the Old Trafford touchline

Danish international star Christian Eriksen has played his role and played it well - as he always had - since his summer arrival at Manchester United.

The 30-year-old AFC Ajax academy graduate first returned to the highest competitive level in football after he collapsed on the pitch at Euro 2020 against Finland due to cardiac arrest with Brentford last season under countryman Thomas Frank, only for United to snap him up on a free transfer in the summer after his terms in London came to an end.

Since his adaptation to Old Trafford under new United boss Erik ten Hag, Eriksen has played a key role as one of a cadre of high-profile acquisitions under the Dutch manager that has borne fruit for the English giants, with progression on the pitch clear for all to see.

With United currently sitting sixth in the table and just three points off third-place Tottenham, with rival wins against the aforementioned Spurs, Liverpool, and Arsenal under Ten Hag’s belt, there is a real spirit of optimism in the United camp.

When speaking ahead of the Red Devil’s Europa League clash tomorrow against FC Sheriff as they look to book passage into the knockout stages, the Danish icon shed light on why he joined United and how things have gotten on under the club’s new tactician.

“I didn’t want to come here to sit on the bench, so it’s never my aim, and I have never been like that as a footballer; to go anywhere to relax and sit on the bench, so I did see my qualities.”

“The players, and I think in general, we started believing in what we are doing on the pitch, and obviously, a lot of the 1-0 wins gave us a lot of confidence that, really, we could do well and really get momentum. I think that starts a bit of extra build-up after the Brentford game. So, I do think it’s a bit of belief...obviously, of course, he wants us to do stuff and we try to do as we can, what he wants, but obviously on the pitch we have to make our own decisions. And I think the qualities we have when finally we get to know the base, will be even better.”

Since their 0-0-2 start to the 2022-23 Premier League season on the back of losses to Brighton and a heavy defeat at Brentford, United have gone on a superb run of form on the domestic front that has seen them post a 6-2-1 record, with their only other loss coming at the hands of rivals Manchester City in a 6-3 goal-fest at the Etihad Stadium.

Out of the ten fixtures that Eriksen has been available for, the Danish midfielder has featured in the starting XI on nine occasions in a now deeper central role rather than further forward as a 10 where he found so much success during the course of his career.

As the 2022 World Cup in Qatar draws closer, and Eriksen’s return into the Denmark fold under Kasper Hjulmand is likely to continue when the dark horse and Euro 2020 semi-finalists look to come away on credible success on the biggest stage, Eriksen’s performances for United will - if you are Danish or a neutral fan - hopefully, carry over for De Rød-Hvide in a similar vein.

Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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