It’s time for Christian Eriksen to produce on the big stage (Video)

Christian Eriksen is undoubtedly a fantastic talent. You would not be scoring eight goals and producing 21 assists in a title-winning side, even in the Dutch league, without being a superb technician. Indeed, his form, which is shown in the video below, has rightly captured the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs, most notably it seems Manchester United in their search for a creative midfield spark that isn’t Paul Scholes.

So why is Eriksen still at Ajax? At the age of 20 and with only two seasons of football, albeit superb ones, under his belt, one could say he is perhaps making the right decision staying at in Holland. However, is it actually that for all his ability, Eriksen has yet to shine on the biggest stage for club or country.

It seems harsh to criticise an 18 year old for not performing in a World Cup for a struggling side but the hype around Eriksen was such that exhilarating performances were expected from him. Additionally, let us not forget that being 18 did not stop the likes of Pele, Ronaldo or even Michael Owen from performing to their potential on the world stage. However, Eriksen, much like his team were slow, cumbersome and at times dull.

Give him the benefit of the doubt we were told, he’d only made his Denmark debut in February that year. Fast forward two years however and after his stunning season at club level, Eriksen was expected to be one of the stars of Euro 2012 but despite his Denmark side impressing overall, Eriksen once again was rather quiet and timid by his standards. The accusation was suddenly there: was the big occasion simply too much for Eriksen, who visibly appeared to shrink in that Denmark shirt. And so, rather than plying his trade at Old Trafford or the Etihad this season, Eriksen remained at the Amsterdam Arena.

However, his side’s Champions League draw has certainly offered the young Dane an opportunity to slam the critics away and position himself in the range of the European superpowers as Ajax face up to Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City. Ajax’s opening defeat at Dortmund may have been a spirited one but yet again, Eriksen toiled somewhat. Graceful and tidy he may have been, but where was the drive, the flash of inspiration? Amidst the constant pressure of the Dortmund midfield, Eriksen remained rather peripheral and in truth, lightweight.

However, tonight he has the opportunity to rectify that. Ajax face Real Madrid at the Amsterdam Arena. Eriksen will be the fulcrum of the Dutch side and will be given both space and time against a Madrid team that has struggled at times this season. This is Eriksen’s big chance to show the world that he can produce on the big stage and potentially, earn himself the move away that his talent deserves.

Adam Mazrani