Newcastle win at Brentford on Eriksen’s EPL return

Newcastle United's Joelinton (left) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Brentford Community Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday February 26, 2022. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)

Christian Eriksen made an emotional return to competitive football eight months after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch, coming on as a substitute for Brentford against Newcastle on Saturday.

The 30-year-old former Tottenham and Inter Milan playmaker collapsed during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 match against Finland in June.

Eriksen was given a standing ovation by the crowd and both sets of players at the Brentford Community Stadium as he made his entrance early in the second half.

He has been fitted with a implantable cardioverter defibrillator, but was unable to continue his career with Italian champions Inter Milan, with ICDs not permitted in Serie A.

That paved the way for a January return to the Premier League, where he spent seven years with Tottenham between 2013 and 2020.

Brentford will be relying on Eriksen to find his old form as they slip closer to the relegation zone in their first season in the top flight since 1947.

Thomas Frank brought on his fellow Dane with the Bees losing 2-0 and down to 10 men after Josh Dasilva’s early red card but he was unable to influence the scoreline.

“If you take away the result I’m one happy man,” Eriksen told Sky Sports. “To go through what I’ve been through, being back is a wonderful feeling.

“Thomas (Frank) didn’t say much (when I came on). I’ve been speaking to him every day for the last few weeks. He just said ‘good luck and enjoy the game’.”

Eriksen said his time at Brentford had been special since he joined the club.

“Everyone is here – my family, my parents, my kids, my mother-in-law and some doctors who have been helping me back and forth,” he added. “What they’ve been through is even tougher than what I’ve been through.

“I think everyone knows every game is very important. I think everyone’s very focused on staying up. Nobody’s naive, but everyone’s focused on their job. The confidence is definitely there to stay up.”

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