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Eriksen keen to look forward after Euro 2020 trauma

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen said his traumatic collapse in his team’s opening game of Euro 2020 is not a moment he regularly thinks about as he prepares to make his first appearance at the tournament since.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest three years ago and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator in front of a stunned Copenhagen crowd during a 1-0 loss to Finland.

He eventually resumed his career after being fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, making his return to international duty nine months later.

The Manchester United midfielder played for Denmark at the 2022 World Cup and is in line to start their Euro 2024 opener against Slovenia in Stuttgart on Sunday.

“For me personally, everything more than one game is improvement but it’s been a goal since the beginning to come back to this level,” the 32-year-old Eriksen told reporters on Saturday.

“It’s been three years, a lot of things have happened in the meantime and so honestly I don’t think about it on a daily basis. 

“It’s not something I overthink. I’m just looking forward to playing football and I think about the positives.”

The shocking incident further united a close group as the Danes reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 before losing 2-1 to England after extra time at Wembley.

Denmark will face England again in Group C this time along with Serbia.

“I think those are great memories and of course it started very negative and very pessimistic but later on everything got more optimistic and we got more free,” said Eriksen, capped 130 times by Denmark.

“But it’s been a lot of years since then and we’re just going to focus on the games now.”

Rasmus Hojlund’s seven goals in qualifying helped Denmark top their section above Slovenia on head-to-head record, but the Manchester United striker has scored only once in his past eight internationals.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand played down any concerns over the youngster’s lack of recent goals for his country.

“It comes in phases. Sometimes you have this period where you score a lot of goals,” said Hjulmand. 

“But thankfully Rasmus always makes a big impression in every game. He’s dangerous and he’s fully motivated but he always makes a difference, which is the most important thing. 

“The goals will come and sometimes you’re gonna have to fight more for the goals and other times they’re just gonna go in every time you kick.”

Benjamin Sesko, who earlier this week extended his RB Leipzig contract until 2029, will be the main threat Denmark must try to neutralise. 

The highly-rated 21-year-old led Slovenia with five goals in qualifying and finished his first Bundesliga season with 14 goals in 31 games.

“Sesko is very fast and he has a great left foot. It’s a player we know and it’s a player we’ve analysed a lot because he is significant for Slovenia,” said Hjulmand.

“Sesko is a big star and a young attacker. We are ready for him.”

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