Christian Eriksen: Contract renewals show Spurs’ players want to stay together for the long term
Christian Eriksen says the recent spate of contract renewals at Tottenham shows the players are keen to keep the current squad together for the long term, because they all feel there is “something special to build on” at White Hart Lane.
Danny Rose today became the latest player to commit his future to Spurs, following hot on the heels of Eriksen, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Harry Winks and Tom Carroll, who have also put pen to paper on improved deals this month.
“I think when someone starts, somebody else jumps on top of it and you can see a lot of players have signed a new deal,” said Eriksen. “A lot of players want to stay a part of it. “Like everyone has said before and will probably say again, as a team we have a really bright future and we want to work for each other. We think there is something special to build on and I think that’s why everybody wants to sign.
“It’s similar to last year with the players we’ve got - the players who played all the games last season are still here and that’s the main thing.
“Everyone’s on top of their game and wants to improve [on] what we did last season, which was very good. Of course it will be a difficult one to beat but we’re doing our best to do it.”
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Eriksen seemed distracted by his contract talks at the start of the season, putting in some below-par performances in the early fixtures before finally signing his four-year deal on September 6.
While he was not the only Tottenham player to emerge slowly out of the traps, the 24-year-old improved markedly after the negotiations were concluded, setting up two goals away at Stoke on September 10 and then scoring twice as a youthful Spurs side thrashed Gillingham 5-0 in Wednesday’s League Cup victory over Gillingham.
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“I was happy before so there’s no difference,” Eriksen insisted. “I’m still a Spurs player, whether I was in negotiations or anything else.
“There was a lot of talk in the press of course but for me it was just about football - and I wanted to stay so for me there was no argument in between. But of course I’m happy that I extended my contract and I like it here.
“I was one of the older ones [against Gillingham]! I’ve been here for a few years now and everything is going how everything needs to be done. Of course I get the experience from all the games I’ve played and all that stuff makes it easier and easier, so I feel comfortable.”
Eriksen could easily have had a hat-trick on Wednesday night. He scored the opening two goals against Gillingham and Tottenham then won a penalty but, instead of grabbing the ball, the Dane allowed striker Vincent Janssen to take the spot-kick and open his account for the Lilywhites, easing the pressure on the summer signing’s shoulders as he prepares to deputise for the injured Harry Kane in the Premier League and Champions League.
“I did think about [taking it] but I think I saw on Vincent’s face and his body language that he really wanted it, and you can feel for a striker,” said Eriksen. “It wasn’t as important for me - two or three goals.
“We had so many chances and we should have scored a few each in the first half so I was happy for him and he did say ‘thank you’ also so it was a good one.
“Especially with the first half, he had a lot of shots. I think normally he would score but he was a bit relaxed after that and I think if you give him a penalty there is no better chance for a striker to score an easy goal.”
Asked whether Janssen looks capable of filling Kane’s boots up front in the coming weeks, Eriksen said: “Yes, I think he’s shown that before.
“Of course it will be difficult to step in for Harry but if he does what he’s good at and does what he did the other night there’ll be some good games for him.
“I think definitely we can cover it. Of course we’re one player out but everyone else can step in. We have a very good, strong squad so it could be anyone who takes his place. When Harry’s not here we miss some goals, and they need to come from someone else.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs