With the start of Euro 2012 just over a week away, Goal.com International's Denmark expert Michael Hansen profiles the Danish Dynamite and Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen
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Christian Eriksen has not been able to relax since the world became aware of his potential when, in March 2010 against Austria - at the age of 18 years and one month - he became the Denmark national team's youngest debutant since Michael Laudrup.
He was a surprise inclusion in Morten Olsen's 2010 World Cup squad and made two substitute appearances, also making him the youngest player to feature in South Africa.
Unsurprisingly, Eriksen is regarded as Danish football's biggest talent in years - the 'new Michael Laudrup' is a tag the 20-year-old is often handed by the public and media. Like Laudrup, Eriksen is skillful, dangerous in the hole, and can shoot well with both feet - even from long distance.
The ultimate Ajax legend Johan Cruyff is a big fan of the Dane, stating: “He’s a player I really like with all my heart."
Eriksen started playing football in his hometown Middelfart before his third birthday. In 2005 he switched to OB Odense where he played for their various youth teams, scoring the winner in the Boys' Championship Final in 2006.
Major European football clubs including Chelsea and Barcelona began to take notice. He had trials with Barcelona, Chelsea and AC Milan, but finally decided to move to Ajax, stating "My first step should not be too big. I knew that playing in the Netherlands would be very good for my development. Then Ajax arrived and that was a fantastic option."
Eriksen joined Ajax and their famous youth academy in October 2008 from OB Odense before having even played a first team match. He worked his way through the youth system and made his debut for the Amsterdam giants in the Eredivisie on January 17, 2010.
Since then he has become a permanent fixture in Ajax’s first team and also the national team.
|"Eriksen is regarded as Danish football's biggest talent in years - the 'new Michael Laudrup' is a tag the 20-year-old is often handed by the public and media"|
In 2011 he picked up his first Championship medal, winning the Dutch league with Ajax and he has just repeated the feat by retaining the title this term.
At the end of his first full season for Ajax in 2010-11, Eriksen was voted the Eredivisie’s Young Player of the Year in 2011. This campaign, the starlet made more appearances than any of Ajax's outfield players, registering seven goals and 17 assists in 33 league appearances.
A maturing Eriksen travels to Euro 2012 as Denmark's star player, and there is expectation for him to create the chances to allow his country to spring a surprise in a nightmare group featuring Germany, Netherlands and Portugal.
If Eriksen's talent keeps evolving he will certainly join one of Europe’s top clubs in the not too distant future. For the time being he will remain at Ajax for at least one more season, but a great Euro 2012 could lead to the continent's best upping the ante this summer.Follow Michael Hansen on