Committed but underwhelming – Christian Eriksen’s display in focus

Christian Eriksen started for Tottenham in their 2-1 FA Cup win over Middlesbrough, despite speculation over his future.

The Dane, who is out of contract in the summer, is reportedly close to joining Inter Milan this month .

Here, the PA News agency reviews his performance against Boro.

How was he received?

Eriksen perhaps thought he had played his last game for the club, having handed his shirt to the crowd and seemingly waved goodbye after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Liverpool. Maybe he expected a possible exit to have gone through, or even just a night off, but he had no such luck as Jose Mourinho said before the game that he would start. Home fans had booed Eriksen off when he was subbed against Liverpool, upset at a poor performance and perceived lack of effort. It was a shame to see, given the years of service he has provided Spurs, and there was a hint of jeering when the teams were read out, though he was in the main cheered. Once the game got under way there was little dissent, though any misplaced passes were perhaps treated more harshly when they came from the boot of Eriksen.

Marks for effort?

Christian Eriksen did not hold back against Middlebrough
Christian Eriksen did not hold back against Middlebrough (Tim Goode/PA).

Eriksen’s form this season has been poor and it has coincided with him saying he wanted to leave in the summer. Mourinho said before the game that he understands why that has happened and there have been times when the Dane has visibly looked disinterested. But there was no questioning of his desire or commitment against Boro as he put himself about the pitch well. He pressed with intensity, tracked back when needed to and produced several lung-busting runs to keep up with fast breaks. It may not have been the case at some points this season, but this was a player giving his all to the cause.

Any moments of quality?

In the past Eriksen was the conductor of Spurs’ attack, with his silky passing and devilish crossing, racking up assist after assist. That element of his game has virtually disappeared this season as he has been wasteful on the ball, while it has become a running joke how his set-pieces never beat the first man. But the Dane operated at a decent 86 per cent pass completion rate. He went close with a low free-kick in the first half and used the ball wisely. There was a moment in the first half where he neatly lost a marker, while could easily have ended up on the scoresheet had his team-mates been more clinical with passes.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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