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Eriksen in Denmark squad for first time since cardiac arrest at Euros

file photo: euro 2020 group b denmark v finland
Denmark's Christian Eriksen

Christian Eriksen was called up to the Denmark national squad on Tuesday, the first time he has been selected since he suffered a cardiac arrest at the European Championship last year.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand included midfielder Eriksen in the 23-man squad that will play against Netherlands and Serbia in friendly internationals at the end of this month.

“I expect Christian to go in and be a deciding factor for our team,” Hjulmand told Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet.

“I did not expect him to play right now, realistically I thought he would be ready by the summer. However Christian is with the squad because he is the best in that position.”

The 30-year-old signed for Premier League side Brentford in January as a free agent for the rest of the season after Inter Milan had to terminate his contract due to Serie A rules.

Eriksen, who has scored 36 goals in 109 internationals, was fitted with a special heart-starting device known as an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) device, which is not permitted in the Italian top flight.

“Christian is in a really good physical shape,” added Hjulmand. “I saw him against Burnley on Saturday where he was the best player out there. He is a player that thinks faster than most.”

Eriksen, starting his second competitive match since his cardiac arrest, set up a goal that put Brentford ahead in the 85th minute of their 3-1 win.

Denmark will play Netherlands on March 26 in Amsterdam followed by Serbia at home three days later in Copenhagen, the venue where Eriksen collapsed last year in their opening Euro 2020 match against Finland on June 12.

Denmark have already qualified for the World Cup in Qatar which starts in November. Eriksen said in January that his goal was to play at this year’s World Cup.

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