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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 9 hours ago
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Feb 16, 2012

Eriksen keeps feet on ground

Ajax attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen has revealed he wants to test himself at one of Europe's bigger clubs - but he is in no rush to quit the Eredivisie.

Eriksen, who turned 20 on Tuesday, has been tracked by Premier League clubs ever since he played a starring role in Denmark's 2-1 defeat to England in an international friendly 12 months ago. But while the former Odense player knows he is being watched by other sides, he believes he will learn more at Ajax.

"I always thought it would be better to go to Holland first, especially because of the position I play and the football I wanted to play," Eriksen told the Daily Mail ahead of Ajax's Europea League tie at home to Manchester United. "Ajax have a tradition of good football and play 4-3-3, which suits me. They also spend lots of money on youth players with the aim of putting them in the first team.

"Top sides in England have to get into the Champions League every year, so they are not going to buy a 17-year-old and put him straight in the first team. They buy players who can play now. You might not get a game until you are 21, so why should you go there?

"I work a lot with Frank de Boer (the head coach) and Dennis Bergkamp (his assistant). I've seen a lot of clips of Bergkamp playing for Arsenal on YouTube. In the beginning it was a shock seeing these big names, even though most of them played before my time. My dad couldn't believe it. Everywhere he turned was an idol.

"When it's time to leave Ajax, I'll try to go to a bigger team who do well in the Champions League every year and win trophies, but I'd make sure it was somewhere where I wouldn't just sit on the bench. Right now, my mind is only focused on Ajax."

Ajax boss De Boer thinks Eriksen could stay at the club for another five years before moving on.

"Christian is a smart kid," he said. "Of course maybe he will play for a big team like Manchester United in the future, but I think he wants to show what he is capable of in this kind of team.

"It would be better for him to stay until he was 25 because you learn a lot in the Netherlands. If you leave afterwards you are a more stable player and ready to play in the big leagues."

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