Soccer-Eriksen makes emotional first appearance for Brentford – Metro US

Soccer-Eriksen makes emotional first appearance for Brentford

Premier League – Brentford v Newcastle United
Premier League – Brentford v Newcastle United

LONDON (Reuters) -Christian Eriksen made his return to competitive action for the first time since collapsing with a cardiac arrest at last year’s Euro 2020 tournament as he came on for Brentford against Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Danish midfielder, fitted with a heart-starting device, joined the London club as free agent in January.

He received a thunderous reception from both sets of fans at Brentford Community Stadium as he came on as a substitute in the 51st minute, with several players also clapping the 30-year-old former Tottenham Hotspur playmaker on to the pitch.

Eriksen needed life-saving treatment on the pitch last June when he collapsed in a match against Finland.

His former club Inter Milan ended his contract in December as he is not allowed to play in Serie A because of his heart starter device, an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

While Eriksen was unable to inspire a comeback as Brentford lost 2-0 to leave them deep in relegation trouble, the midfielder said it had been a special moment.

“If you take away the result, I’m one happy man. To go through what I’ve been through, being back is a wonderful feeling,” Eriksen said.

“(Manager) Thomas (Frank) didn’t say much (when I came on). I’ve been speaking to him every day for the last few weeks. He just said ‘good luck and enjoy the game’.

“Everyone is here. My family, my parents, my kids, my mother-in-law and some doctors who have been helping me back and forth. What they’ve been through is tougher than what I’ve been through.”

Understandably, Eriksen looked a little rusty although one volleyed pass late on was a reminder of why Brentford were so keen to sign him up.

Asked on his hopes for the rest of the season, Eriksen said: “First of all to get the feeling and touch back, that football feeling, and to help Brentford stay in the Premier League.”

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Christian Radnedge)