London (AFP) – Brentford’s Christian Eriksen is feeling “100 percent secure” about his impending return to competitive football just eight months after he suffered a cardiac arrest.
The former Tottenham star has not played a match since his brush with death during Denmark’s European Championship game against Finland last June.
After being fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), Eriksen was unable to continue his career with Inter Milan due to health regulations in Italy.
The midfielder ultimately made a surprise Premier League return by signing for Brentford on January 31.
The 29-year-old has been training with the London club for several days and Bees boss Thomas Frank said he would feature in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Monday.
“I think he’s fine, he’s training well and he looks like the quality player we know he is,” Frank said ahead of Saturday’s clash with Crystal Palace.
“It’s a joy watching him play football — so natural for him — so that’s fantastic to see, but he will not be available for the team tomorrow. That would always be too early after just one week.
“We will have a friendly game on Monday where he will play minutes and that’s the right way to do it.”
Speaking at his first press conference as a Brentford player on Friday, Eriksen said he had no fears about playing again less than a year after the incident at Euro 2020.
“Of course it is getting closer and closer,” he said. “I do feel in my head and body that the excitement is coming, the adrenaline is coming more and more towards game time.
“No, if there was any anxiety I wouldn’t go back. If I wasn’t fully committed and feel like I am trusting of the doctors, trusting of my heart, trusting my ICD in me, then I wouldn’t go back.
“No, I feel 100 percent secure to go back.”
Eriksen knows Frank well after playing for him in Denmark’s youth age-group teams.
Once it became clear he would not be able to stay in Italy, Eriksen felt a return to England with a manager he was familiar with would be the ideal way to get back into action.
“After the incident it became clearer and clearer the longer it went on that I couldn’t play in Italy because of the ICD I have,” he said.
“My mindset then of course changed that if it can’t be Italy, the best option would be England, in the Premier League and being in a London club, also for the family, was the perfect mix.”
Daley Blind also plays with a pacemaker and the Netherlands international has provided his former Ajax teammate with inspiration on the comeback trail.
“First of all I felt from the beginning of this I needed to prove you can play with an ICD and if something that bad has happened, you can be returning to a normal life afterwards,” Eriksen said.
“That is more the motivation for me, to show I am capable of that.”
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