LONDON (AP) — Christian Eriksen says he has no anxiety about playing his first match since a cardiac arrest and believes a return to England was perfect after the incident last summer.
The Denmark international has not played a competitive match since June 12, when he collapsed and in his own words was “gone from this world for five minutes” during a European Championship match against Finland.
After being fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator days after the incident, Eriksen had to be released by Inter Milan in December due to rules in Italy preventing athletes from competing with an ICD. He made a surprise return to the English Premier League with Brentford in January.
Bees boss Thomas Frank revealed on Friday the former Tottenham playmaker will play in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Monday which could open the door for him to be involved at Arsenal on Feb. 19.
“I do feel in my head and body that the excitement is coming, the adrenaline is coming more and more towards game time,” Eriksen said on Friday at his unveiling news conference at Brentford Community Stadium.
“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% secure to go back.”
Eriksen trained with his teammates for the first time on Monday but was familiar with several of them who are Denmark internationals.
The 29-year-old Eriksen has previously worked with Frank in Danish age-group teams and yet had no ambitions to return to England before he suffered a cardiac arrest, having spent 6 1/2 years in the U.K. with Tottenham before leaving in January 2020. Unable then to play in Italy, he considered an England return the best alternative.
He passed the required medical checks and cleared to play in the Premier League with the ICD.
Daley Blind, Eriksen’s former Ajax teammate who also played for Manchester United, is a notable footballer to still play with a pacemaker.
“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 insisted. “That is more the motivation for me, to show I am capable of that.
“At the same time, I haven’t forgotten how to play football. My body is still the same and my vision and ability is still the same. Of course it is about kicking on, getting used to my teammates and falling into the rhythm of the team.”
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