Soccer

After Tottenham's disappointing Premier League finish, Denmark's Eriksen shifts focus to Kirin Cup

Kyodo

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen hopes to take his mind off what could have been for Tottenham Hotspur this past season with a positive performance at the Kirin Cup.

Denmark, which missed out on the upcoming European Championship after losing to Sweden in a playoff, faces Bosnia-Herzegovina on Friday at Toyota Stadium in the first game of the four-team tournament, ahead of Japan’s match against Bulgaria.

Eriksen also narrowly missed out on the English Premier League title with Spurs, who collected just two points over their last four games to hand the championship to Leicester City. Tottenham ended up third, a point behind London rival Arsenal.

Despite fading down the stretch, Eriksen remains proud of the campaign his club had and the 24-year-old playmaker is looking forward to playing for his country, which is off to a fresh start under Aage Hareide.

“When we look back to the season the club had, we had a good season,” Eriksen told Kyodo News.

“The last few games were tough but again if you look back, we’re pretty happy with what we achieved,” said Eriksen, the youngest member of the Denmark squad that lost 3-1 to Japan in the first round of the 2010 World Cup.

“Personally, when I’m with the national team I’m happy enough to be here. It’s good to think about something else and focus on the national team. It’s good to be a part of this.”

Hareide, who took over in December for Morten Olsen after the Danes failed to qualify for Euro 2016, said the group he has brought over to Japan is close to full strength.

The manager maintained the Kirin Cup is a key part of the buildup toward the 2018 World Cup qualifying beginning in September.

“This is part of the preparation for the World Cup qualification starting in September so these are very important games for us,” Hareide said. “I’m pleased we have the main squad with us and that we can work on our style and how we want to play, which we will try to show against Bosnia.”

GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5