Mikel Arteta has said that it will be “incredible” to see Christian Eriksen play again, with Arsenal set to meet Brentford this weekend.
Only eight months on from his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, Eriksen is almost ready to make his debut for his new club. Brentford manager Thomas Frank has suggested that Saturday’s game will come just a little too soon for the Denmark international, however, despite him impressing in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Southend United last Monday.
Eriksen completed an hour against Southend as Brentford won 3-2, setting up the first of three goals for Josh Dasilva. Brentford are understandably cautious about reintroducing their new signing to competitive football and want to give him more friendly minutes behind the scenes.
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“Christian looked good in the 60 minutes he played [against Southend] and looked good in training,” Frank said, when asked for an update on Eriksen ahead of the weekend. “This Arsenal game is just one step too early.
“We have another good opponent for a friendly game on Monday. We are aiming for the Newcastle game [next weekend].”
Nonetheless, while Eriksen won’t feature this weekend, Arteta urged fans to give him a warm welcome when he makes his much-anticipated return. “It would be incredible [to see him back],” he said. “I remember where I was when [Eriksen’s collapse] happened and straightaway the reaction that you get, it was awful.
“It’s great news, thanks to the doctors first of all and the medical team that saved his life probably on the day, and I cannot imagine what it meant to his family, but I am sure they will be anxious. But for the football industry, I think it’s great news.
“He’s someone that has done incredibly well in this country, he left a big mark when he left and now he has the opportunity to come back and play.
“I hope [there will be a positive reception] understanding what happened and where he was a few months ago. I would like to see that.
“It’s obviously something very personal, but from my side that would be the way that I would react to him. I will be so pleased to see him again on a football pitch.”
Speaking to the BBC last week, Eriksen suggested that he felt little anxiety at the prospect of making his competitive comeback. “I have been cleared to do everything from the doctors, so in that sense it doesn’t really matter what was the reason [for the cardiac arrest],” he said.
“Continuously I have been given the green light that everything is OK for the future.
“I don’t really have any scared feelings about it, I don’t feel my ICD [implantable cardioverter-defibrillator] so if it gets hit I know it is safe enough.
“I am not scared of the challenges ahead and the bullies in the game, no.”
Arsenal lost their first game of the season away at Brentford so, Eriksen or no Eriksen, they will need to be at their best on Saturday.
Arteta’s side are currently sixth in the Premier League, two points behind West Ham in fifth and four behind Manchester United in fourth with three games in hand on each. Brentford are 14th and looking to end a seven-match winless run in all competitions.
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