Eriksen targets ’22 WC return, mulls club future


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Denmark international Christian Eriksen said on Tuesday that his goal was to play in this year’s Qatar World Cup, with reports in England suggesting he could also make a return to the Premier League amid interest from several teams.

Eriksen, 29, hasn’t played since suffering a cardiac arrest against Finland in last year’s European Championship in Copenhagen, when he received life-saving treatment on the pitch.

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The former Internazionale, Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax playmaker said he intended to return to football to play for Denmark at the World Cup, but his interview with a Danish broadcaster posed many questions, with his future still up in the air.

The Dane recently had his contract terminated by Inter after having a heart starter device implanted following his dramatic collapse. Such devices are not permitted in Italy and his career there was effectively ended.

“My goal is to play in the World Cup in Qatar, that’s been my mindset all along. Whether I’ll be picked is another thing, but it’s my dream to come back. So until then I’m just going to play and prove that I’m back at the same level,” he said.

Eriksen said that his heart was “not an obstacle,” adding that the event at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium was unlikely to be repeated.

“My dream is to rejoin the national team and play at Parken again and prove that it was a one-timer. Again, it’s up to the manager to assess my level,” he said.

The interview could be seen as a come-and-get-me plea from the softly-spoken 29-year-old, but his options for a return remain uncertain.

His former teammate Daley Blind had a similar device fitted and is playing at Ajax, the Dutch club where the mercurial Eriksen broke through before joining Premier League side Tottenham and a number of clubs are likely to be in the market for a player of Eriksen’s ability.

He is exactly the kind of creative spark needed at Premier League strugglers Newcastle United, who are awash with money after a recent takeover by a Saudi consortium.

Eriksen knows, however, he will have to convince any prospective employer that he is fit enough to play.

“That’s really why I feel it’s time to get out and do an interview, because I know what I want — I want to play football again,” he told DR.

Eriksen looked relaxed as he discussed what the future might hold, and took the opportunity to assure clubs that his heart can be trusted.

“They [the doctors] have said ‘fine,’ said it’s good, so everything is stable, which therefore feels like a green light to be able to play football again,” Eriksen said.

Virtually his last public gesture was to wave to fans as he was carried from the Parken Stadium pitch on a stretcher, having effectively died, only to be brought back to life.

Never one to court the spotlight, he has stayed out of public view during his rehabilitation until he felt ready to make a return. Now without a club for the first time in his glittering career, his future in the game is unclear.

“In the world of football, you can never really decide for yourself where you are going,” Eriksen added.

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