Christian Eriksen was taken off with a serious-looking ankle injury in Denmark’s win over Norway and could be sidelined for the rest of the year.
It is every club manager’s nightmare; a star player gets injured while on international duty.
For Tottenham, the nightmare became reality on Friday night, as Christian Eriksen had to be assisted from the pitch in the first half of Denmark’s 2-1win over Norway on Friday night.
The 21-year-old playmaker picked up an ankle injury and was replaced by Nicolai Jorgensen after 41 minutes of the friendly fixture.
Denmark manager Morten Olsen said that Eriksen could be on the sidelines for the rest of the year.
"We don't know if he's out for four or six weeks or how long it will take," he said. "It's bad for him at a new club."
Eriksen has shown fleeting glimpses of his ability at White Hart Lane since a summer move from Ajax, but has been in and out of the starting XI this term.
Although Holtby is a talented player and technically able on the ball, he lacks Eriksen’s finesse and the Danish midfielder’s injury comes as a real blow ahead of a hectic fixture schedule for the north London outfit.
Eriksen’s absence robs Tottenham of arguably their most creative midfielder, and puts a lot of pressure on Holtby to create the chances to see Spurs cast aside a slow start to the new campaign in the final third.
Without Eriksen, an additional emphasis on the likes of Paulinho and Mousa Dembele to get forward and support Roberto Soldado will be expected from Villas-Boas.
With a challenging run of games coming up for Tottenham, having Holtby as the sole protagonist in the number ten role weakens the collective cause, and Villas-Boas may look at other options in the position to rotate with the former Schalke man.
It will be interesting to see whether Villas-Boas is tempted to deploy Erik Lamela in a more central role on occasion to make use of his technical abilities, or whether he will consider changing his formation to include an extra striker.
Eriksen’s injury is bad news for Tottenham one way or the other, and the White Hart Lane faithful will hope that he can make a swift return.
image: © Кирилл Крыжановский