Christian Eriksen knew he would play football again 'two days' after cardiac arrest

Dane preparing to make his football comeback after signing short-term deal with Premier League side Brentford

Christian Eriksen has not played professional football since suffering a cardiac arrest during a match at Euro 2020. PA
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Christian Eriksen says he knew he would play football again just two days after suffering a cardiac arrest at last year's European Championship as he prepares to make his return to the game with Brentford.

The football world held its collective breath last June when the Denmark playmaker collapsed on the pitch against Finland.

On his way to hospital in Copenhagen he told his wife Sabrina that he would probably never play football again.

But Eriksen, 29, was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) and doctors told him there was a chance he could return to top-level sport.

Eriksen was unable to continue his career with Inter Milan because Serie A rules do not permit footballers fitted with the device to play in Italy but he signed for Premier League side Brentford on the final day of the January transfer window.

Speaking to club media for the first time on Monday, he said: "On the way to the hospital I told Sabrina I may as well leave my boots here.

"It changed two days later. It was in the moment. I recognised what happened to me later on that night and the next few days.

"Then all the tests started and all the knowledge started to come in and all the questions were being asked 'Can I do this? Can I do that?' and listen to the doctors."

Eriksen, who has signed a contract until the end of the season with the Premier League club, said he had many tests to assess how his heart was reacting to physical training: the results were all positive.

"Then, every month I could really push it and then I could play," he said. "But the feeling of getting to hear from the doctors that even with an ICD there are no limits and with your condition there are no limits ... it just depends on the diagnosis and how you feel about it."

The former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has not played since the incident last year but has recently been training with the youth team at another of his previous clubs, Ajax.

Eriksen said the long lay-off had been frustrating and it had been difficult even to watch matches.

"The first few months you can't really do anything," he said. "You have to let it heal and let it wait and let it settle so you don't really do anything and then ever since the last four months really started doing the rehab programme."

Eriksen, whose 51 goals during his seven years at Tottenham make him the highest scoring Dane in Premier League history, said he "very good" but that it would take time to get match-fit. Brentford's next match is away to league leaders Manchester City on Wednesday.

"Condition-wise and strength-wise I am in a very good place," he said. "It's only the football touch that needs to come back and really the game minutes and the training minutes to get up to speed.

"I feel very good but we'll see with training how it feels, how it develops and how my body reacts."

Eriksen, capped 109 times by Denmark, said this month that he intends to play for Denmark at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

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Updated: February 08, 2022, 11:44 AM