The attacking midfielder rattled in 11 goals in 44 appearances for us during the 2015-16 domestic season, including six in eight in Europe, and has since featured in every game of Argentina’s run to the showpiece final in the United States, scoring twice more along the way.
His nation will be full of confidence ahead of kick-off against Chile, having beaten the same opponents 2-1 in their opening game of the group stage, with 24-year-old Erik also safe in the knowledge that he’s impressed a lot of people en route to where he is now.
Indeed, we spoke to a handful of his Spurs colleagues at the end of last season and they all underlined how important Erik was to our endeavours throughout 2015-16, in what was his best campaign since arriving from Roma three years ago.
“I hope he wouldn’t mind me saying it but Erik probably had a few difficult months when he first came in here but I think he’s proved the doubters wrong,” said England international right-back Kyle Walker (pictured below).
“We’ve said it in interviews countless times but you could see in training what he was all about and I’m thankful now that he’s showing it on the pitch and he’s proving to everyone why he was such a hot prospect when he came to Tottenham Hotspur.
“I think he’s probably made one of the most amounts of challenges in the Premier League for a winger as well – that’s incredible, but I think it shows the willingness that we’ve all got to put our bodies on the line all over the pitch.
“Erik always gives 100 per cent and that’s what the gaffer wants. If you don’t perform offensively and defensively you’re not going to play and Erik’s taken that on himself. You can see that he’s done the extra gym work, he looks strong on the pitch and I think he’s doing fantastically well. He deserves all the praise that he gets.”
Tom Carroll (pictured below with Erik during the victory over Monaco in December, 2015) also commented on the Argentina international’s physical strength when assessing the talents of the former River Plate man.
“He’s been really aggressive for us which has been key and he’s chipped in with a fair few goals and assists as well, so that’s another positive for the squad going forward,” said the central midfielder.
“He works hard, he’s strong and he’s lean and that definitely helps with the way we play – I think you need to be like that. To be fair to him he works hard in the gym as well and he’s definitely helped us over the last year, for sure. He’s worked his socks off for us.”
Christian Eriksen, who often featured alongside Erik in our attacking midfield set-up in 2015-16, added: “He’s different to some of the other players we have. He likes a tackle and it’s good to have someone a little bit different.
“He’s shown that he’s a very talented, very good player. Of course he was unlucky in his first season with injuries, he didn’t play as much, but now he’s playing regularly, he’s giving back the confidence the manager is giving him and you can see he’s a really talented lad.”
Erik’s Argentina take on Chile at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, kick-off 1am Monday UK time.