“Until Eriksen came onto the field, I didn’t see Tottenham winning that game.”
Those were the words of Jamie Redknapp following Spurs’ 3-1 win over Aston Villa in their opening game of the Premier League season that saw Mauricio Pochettino’s side come from behind to claim the three points with three goals in the second half.
It was an encouraging comeback for Tottenham, and one player, in particular, has been raking in the plaudits as an influential reason behind Spurs’ win on Saturday, Christian Eriksen.
The Danish international came on in the second half with Tottenham trailing 1-0, and within 10 minutes of his introduction, the north London side were level, sparking the comeback Spurs needed to go on to win against Aston Villa.
We all know the reasoning behind Eriksen’s exclusion in the starting XI. The Danish international has been linked with a move away from Spurs for most of the summer, but with the English transfer window now shut, Pochettino must swallow his pride and start the playmaker in the next league game against Manchester City.
Looking at his numbers against Villa on WhoScored, Eriksen managed 3 key passes in just 26 minutes of football, as well as having an average pass completion rate of 79.2% and successfully making 2 long balls, and with Spurs lacking creatively in the first half, Pochettino can’t afford to play hardball with the Dane in their upcoming game.
As Redknapp further says in his assessment of Tottenham on Sky Sports: “When he (Eriksen) came onto the pitch the tempo changed, the pace changed, the passing changed, you could see every time a Spurs player got the ball the first player they looked for was him. He changed the whole tempo of the game.”
With the likes of Dele Alli and Heung-min Son out with injury and no expected time for first-team football for Giovani Lo Celso, Pochettino might just have to bite the bullet next weekend against City and play his main creative man in what is likely to be an important game for Spurs.