Playmaker Christian Eriksen was recently heralded by Tottenham Hotspur manager Tim Sherwood as "one of the best acquisitions [this club] has ever made. He not only assists he scores, he effects football matches. He's young, a baby in footballing terms. He's a fantastic trainer, has so much in the locker."
That is high praise indeed, especially when considering this is the same club who bought - in the last two decades alone - David Ginola, Les Ferdinand, Jurgen Klinsmann, Teddy Sheringham, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric.
Considering the form he has enjoyed at times throughout the season, with part of his campaign encumbered by a problematic back injury, could the Dane - who was lauded as the top talent since the Laudrups in his home-land - emulate Modric?
Currently, in Premier League competition to date, Eriksen is one of the Lilywhite players most frequently on the football and attempting to influence a match, as his one touch every 1.22 minutes statistic in the data table below demonstrates. On average, he attempts 43 passes per match, enjoys an 81% passing accuracy and completes a cross with one in every five attempts.
What is most impressive, though, is that he is responsible for creating a goal-scoring opportunity (chance) every 30.5 minutes he is on the field, he either scores or assists once every 120 minutes and he scores with 6.8 shots he dispatches.
|Mins/Touch||Pass/App||Pass Acc||Cross Acc||Chance||Assist||Shot||Goal||Apps||Mins|
So how does his debut season compare to Modric's last season as a Spur, in the 2011-12 campaign, ahead of his £33m move to Real Madrid?
Modric was on the ball far more frequently than Eriksen currently is, as he enjoyed a touch on the football every single minute, attempted 70 passes per appearance with a higher accuracy (87%) and was also more precise with his crossing (37%). However, when it comes to chance creation and attacking efficiency, it is actually Eriksen who has the edge, despite the fact he is still acclimatising to London and the Premier League.
Modric creates a goal-scoring opportunity every 33.8 minutes he was on the pitch in 2011-12, scored or assisted once every 401 minutes and returned one goal for every 20 shots he attempted. When it came to striking the ball at goal, he was far more wasteful than Eriksen currently is.
|Mins/Touch||Pass/App||Pass Acc||Cross Acc||Chances||Assist||Shot||Goal||Apps||Mins|
At 22-years-old, there is still room for Eriksen to grow as a footballer, especially as he will be more used to the physicality of the division in his second season. He will want to be on the ball more and enhance his passing ability. His crossing skill may naturally improve should Spurs acquire a quality in-form centre forward, but what will be crucial is the manager he will be playing under.
Considering his Ajax background, it perhaps makes the recruitment of current Amsterdammers boss Frank de Boer even more compelling.