Jan Vertonghen believes Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Christian Eriksen is world-class
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Belgium defender full of praise for Spurs playmaker and has seen him make big steps forward in recent years
Christian Eriksen has made “unbelievable progress” over the past two years and deserves to be named alongside the best creative midfielders in the world, according to Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Jan Vertonghen.
The Dane scored 12 goals and set up another 23 for Spurs last term and his strike at West Ham on Saturday has taken his tally for the current season to two goals and four assists.
He was involved in all three of Tottenham’s goals in east London and Vertonghen – Eriksen’s team-mate at both Ajax and Tottenham – said: “I think Christian has made unbelievable progress.
“I’ve known him for many years and he’s always been a great talent, a great player, but definitely in the last two seasons he’s made great progress.
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“Everyone always said that you have to be the best playmaker in the world with his quality and I think definitely the last years have seen big, big steps forward.
“He’s scoring goals and giving assists and even when he drops a line - what he’s done for us in a couple of games - he does very well. For me Christian, especially in the last two seasons, has been enormous.”
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Asked if Eriksen should now be considered world-class, Vertonghen said: “I believe so, yes.”
Spurs’ next test comes against the reigning Cypriot champions Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday as they travel to the continent for their second Champions League group games – but they are leaving London without the suspended Vertonghen.
The Belgian was shown two yellow cards when Spurs beat Borussia Dortmund earlier this month – the second for accidentally catching Mario Gotze with a swinging arm.
“Obviously I want to play every game - every cup game, every league game,” said Vertonghen. “It’s a shame, I don’t think I deserved that red card. But if [I didn’t get it] I’m on a yellow card and can miss any other game with another yellow. I’ve got confidence in the team. I’m suspended now but it’s only one game.”
Dele Alli is also banned, and Vertonghen’s compatriot Mousa Dembele could miss the game too due to a persistent foot issue.
“He feels his own body the best and hopefully he’s back 100 per cent real quick because he’s a very important player for us,” said Vertonghen.
“Of course we’ve got some other options – Moussa Sissoko can play in that role as well, we’ve got Winksy (Harry Winks) on the bench and [Victor] Wanyama coming back. Eric [Dier] has done brilliantly there.
“When we play five at the back, we need one midfielder less so it’s easier for us to make a different formation.
“Sissoko did very well there on Saturday. Maybe he’s used to playing on the side a bit more but he did very well for us in that position. He can be a good solution for us.”
Having had three home games in a row this month, Spurs are now playing three away matches in succession – but that may just suit them.
The Lilywhites have failed to win any of their home league games at Wembley and have only managed to score two goals across those matches, while they have won all three of their away games in the top flight, netting eight times in the process.
Harry Kane has said “you could say it’s maybe a bit more open away and we take advantage of that”, and Vertonghen concurs.
“Maybe, yes,” he said. “They have to come out a bit more for their own crowd and that’s to our benefit. We get a bit more space away from home.”
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