Tottenham's Christian Eriksen on level of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva - Poch
LONDON -- Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has said Christian Eriksen is in the same class as Manchester City pair Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva.
Eriksen has been named in the PFA Team of the Season along with teammates Harry Kane and Jan Vertonghen, as well as De Bruyne and Silva.
But the Dane is not a contender for PFA Player of the Year, with De Bruyne and Liverpool's Mohamed Salah the favourites ahead of Silva, Kane, David de Gea, Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane.
Eriksen has scored five times in as many matches and he is expected to play a crucial role in Spurs' hopes of reaching a first FA Cup final since 1991 in Saturday's meeting with Manchester United -- having scored inside 11 seconds in Spurs' 2-0 win over Jose Mourinho's side in January.
Speaking before Saturday's FA Cup semifinal, Pochettino said: "For me, you can compare Christian with special players like De Bruyne or David Silva. The type of player who is capable to play football, and also run, and fight. Yes, it is a massive, massive value to have a player like Christian in the team, of course.
"I think in the four seasons that he's playing for us, he has improved in every season. He's more mature, more experienced. He was so young when I arrived here [as manager in summer 2014]. Of course now he's a more mature player. That is one of the things that is easy to recognise and to give him the credit.
"He has improved in different aspects, yes. We saw how he was improving and in every single aspect. When a young player always arrives from a different league, it's about time to improve.
"Of course, as when we were talking about Harry Kane or Dele Alli, they deserve the credit. They are good professionals, they work hard to try to improve. We are only people who provide the platform for them to work hard and improve."
Saturday's semifinal will mark the one year anniversary of the death of Ugo Ehiogu, Spurs' Under-23 coach who passed away suddenly after collapsing at the club's training ground with a cardiac arrest, ahead of last year's semifinal against Chelsea.
"Last season, I think it affected everyone," Pochettino said. "It was a very bad situation. We still feel the pain. Yes, on Saturday, it will be one year that he passed away. Of course, it was [a] very difficult moment to live.
And I'm sure that the players are going to remember, and all the fans, and everyone. And of course, we are going to remember him and his family too. We need to transform this pain into motivation, this is possible to dedicate to him the victory."
Pochettino has insisted that Tottenham will not gain an advantage from playing the semifinal at Wembley Stadium, their temporary home for the season but he admitted the 90,000-seater arena now feels like home.
Spurs dropped seven points in their first three league games at Wembley but after a stuttering start they have recorded landmark wins against Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, United and Arsenal there this season.
Pochettino said the turning point was the 3-1 Champions League win over Dortmund in mid-September.
"The victory against Dortmund -- I think that's when we started to feel [like home]," he said. "I think Dortmund at that moment was the best team in Germany, was one of the best teams in Europe, was doing fantastic, doing fantastic at the top of the table in the Bundesliga and, at that moment, I think felt as if we started to feel [like home].
"The atmosphere was brilliant, the fans were brilliant, fantastic, and I think in that moment we changed to believing we could win, we started to feel like Wembley was home for us and I think that was the massive change for the team.
"For me, it's not an advantage," he added. "All the players who play for Manchester United are used to playing at Wembley, I think we are going to share the stadium, it's 50-50 between our fans and Man United fans, I think it's not as if we feel like we will play at home.
"We are playing at Wembley, it's a football game that does not have an advantage for us. I don't even think we are going to use the normal home dressing room so I don't feel it will be an advantage."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.