New Brentford signing Christian Eriksen has opened up about the strange sensation of feeling “totally normal” but knowing his life had changed forever following his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.
The Denmark playmaker will turn 30 on Monday and will spend the occasion with family given there was a chance this celebration may never have occurred after he collapsed on June 12 at Parken Stadium, during Denmark’s clash with Finland.
Eriksen – in his own words – was “gone” for five minutes but says he has felt normal since his resuscitation, increasing his eagerness to return to competitive action.
Days after his collapse, Eriksen had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) fitted.
His contract with Inter Milan was terminated in December due to rules regarding the use of pacemakers by athletes in Italy which provided the catalyst for a return to the Premier League with Brentford last month.
“For me, I wanted my life to be normal straight after because I didn’t feel anything from what had happened,” Eriksen explained at his unveiling press conference on Friday.
“I was in hospital and I had an ICD implanted, but otherwise I felt totally normal. That was more the difficult part afterwards, being able to just have a normal life.
“Of course life has changed because the people are looking differently because of what happened, our life of being in Italy and being in the Euros changed in that moment, but otherwise looking at life didn’t change as much.
“I did look at my family a bit different, of how they feel, how they act and how my kids grow up.
“Otherwise, I think the rest of the world… I was pretty happy with the world before, so that didn’t change how I looked at the world afterwards. More the family-wise.”
Without the support of his family, Eriksen would not have been able to embark on his journey to become the first footballer to play in the Premier League with an ICD.
The end of his Inter career led to a meeting with former Denmark youth-team coach Thomas Frank and several international colleagues at Brentford, but there will be no big bash to celebrate his birthday on Valentine’s Day.
Eriksen added: “Nothing (planned), I even told my fiancé (Sabrina) I want to keep it as quiet as possible, just be as a family. For me that is the most important part. Nothing exciting, just some food probably.
“I can say my family is in a good place, everyone is in a very good place from what has happened.
“We have been speaking about everything that happened very clearly, very open and I am loving the support they are giving me. I am happy I am here for them.”
The 109-times-capped international is keen to get back to being Eriksen the footballer after eight months on the sidelines.
New side Brentford will hope it will not take the former Tottenham star long to rediscover the form that made him one of the best creative players in England for seven seasons.
He will play a friendly on Monday and then aim to build up his fitness over the coming weeks, with the temptation for Frank to include him in the squads to face Arsenal and Newcastle later this month if everything goes to plan.
Asked if he will reach his previous heights, Eriksen insisted with a laugh: “Easy, yes.
“It is more if you don’t touch the ball for five months, your touch is a bit rusty and you have to get back to it, get back to rhythm. But no, you never lose the football touch.”