Christian Eriksen of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the UEFA Champions League group H match against Real Madrid.
Tottenham Hotspur fans would perhaps have been taking more interest in the Denmark v Republic of Ireland playoff for the 2018 World Cup because of the presence of Christian Eriksen.
Those that watched would not have been disappointed, either, as after going 1-0 down Eriksen grabbed the Danes by the scruff of the neck and scored a hat-trick as his nation ran out 5-1 winners and booked their place in Russia next summer.
Christian Eriksen celebrates after scoring Denmark's third goal during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying football match, second leg against Republic of Ireland.
In total the midfielder scored 11 goals in European qualification for the tournament. Only Robert Lewandowski (16) and Cristiano Ronaldo (15) netted more and of course they are both the focal point in attack for Poland and Portugal respectively.
Yet the performance that Eriksen gave at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin was so much more than one of scoring acumen, with the 25 year old displaying just how much he has improved over the past 12 months.
When he joined Spurs from Ajax in 2013 the Dane was known to be a talented player, but was far from the finished product. Over the last year Mauricio Pochettino has changed that and in fact, does this showing against the Irish and on the domestic stage against Real Madrid in the Champions League show that Eriksen is now among the world's best?
Mauricio Pochettino, manager of Tottenham Hotspur, reacts during the UEFA Champions League group H match against Real Madrid.
Always technically gifted, the midfield ace now looks more physically robust and strong and unlike the popular criticism often aimed at number tens, he is always involved in the game and perhaps that involvement sometimes goes a little unnoticed. That was not necessarily true at the beginning of last season.
Eriksen, like all great attackers, has the ability to read the game and be in the right place at the right time and is a real testament to the fact that Pochettino makes players better.
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