The pundit - Jan Molby on Christian Eriksen: "He plays in his own time"
22 March 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Christian Eriksen lit up the Lane again as we toppled Southampton on Sunday - and that will have come as no surprise to one of his biggest fans, legendary former Danish midfielder Jan Molby.
A double-winner during his 10 years at Liverpool, Molby dictated matches with his skill and vision, two characteristics that certainly also apply to Christian, whose superb opening strike set-up a 2-1 victory against the Saints to make it 10 Premier League wins on the trot at the Lane, maintain our second place and take him to 10 goals in all competitions this season.
As Christian joins up again with his national team, here's what Molby had to say about him...
- Like Christian, made his name at Ajax
- Made 292 appearances for Liverpool, 1984-95
- Won the league/FA Cup double in 1986 and further titles in 1988, 1990
- Capped 33 times by Denmark
- Now a pundit for Danish TV, BBC Five Live and Liverpool Echo
Intelligence is Christian's strength
Jan: "I’ve always been a big fan of Christian. I’ve always been a fan of intelligent players and that’s his strength. So much of his work goes unnoticed because it’s about creating space, and that’s creating space for himself and for team-mates. I often say that Christian is behind Dele Alli and Harry Kane’s success in the space he creates for them in his movement and his passing. That’s as big a statement you can make about any player, not only having the ability to play well yourself but the ability to make other people play well and other people decisive, which is what he does."
Below: Christian in action against Southampton on Sunday
'He plays in his own time'
Jan: "Christian has that ability to play in his own time. The game has never been quicker than it is at the moment but Christian takes that out of the situation because he plays in his own time and long before the ball is received, he knows what he wants to do and he does it when he’s ready, no-one rushes him."
Below: Jan Molby celebrates Denmark's win against West Germany at the 1986 World Cup
Jan: "Christian was always perfect for the Premier League. There are a lot leagues in Europe where there is a lot of attention to man-marking, so when he was with Ajax in Holland, a lot of the time there would have always been someone keeping an eye on him. In England, it’s different. The pressure is where the ball is, so if you are an intelligent player you will always be able to find a bit of space and that will give you a bit of time. That doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to do what Christian does, but it does allow clever players to find that little bit of space and time that Christian is as good as anyone else at exploiting."
Below: Christian fires home against Hull in December
Seeing the key pass
Jan: "There are a lot of things in football you can’t teach people and some players are born with certain qualities and one of Christian’s qualities is that he sees things that no-one else sees on the pitch. You also have to have that knack that most canny strikers have of moving half-a-second before everyone else. They know. People will say ‘the defender let him go’ but he didn’t, he just didn’t see things as quickly as that striker did."
Below: Christian on Danish duty in October
Putting in the miles
On top of all that natural ability on the ball, Christian also puts in the mileage during matches.
Jan: "That’s his eagerness to be close to where the action is so where he thinks he can influence things on the ball, if that means running another 40, 50 yards, that’s what he will do, because he undersatands the benefits. A lot of players will run around and cover an awful lot of yards but not quite get as much from it as Christian does. He has very few wasted yards."