Yet another attacking midfielder...the best to put in our pockets. (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Please welcome yet another guest writer putting a Player in her Pocket ... Layla Carlsson, who is so much like yours truly it's rather scary. Except for her team choices. You can find Layla writing about Real Madrid on Football United, and contributing to In Bed With Maradona. And talking all things Pocho and #hamsikporn related with me on Twitter.
A softspoken, perhaps shy 19 year old Dane, upholding the tradition of a classic Ajax number 10 and following in the footsteps of Rafael van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder. Attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen has rapidly built up a good reputation at the Amsterdam club after his debut for the first team in 2010; a reputation that took him to the World Cup on 2010 - at age 18 - to play in two matches for his country on the world's biggest football stage.
The likes of Barcelona, AC Milan and Chelsea flirted with young Eriksen, but Christian and his father considered Ajax to be "a fantastic chance to develop as a player." The Eredivisie has traditionally been a good next step for Scandinavian players; cultural adjustment is fairly easy, the language isn't hard to learn for Scandinavians, and the Dutch have a great football tradition and history with legendary clubs like Ajax and Feyenoord taking home national and international league titles.
And thus, after arriving at Ajax's renowned youth academy in 2008, Christian Eriksen grabbed his chance to take that next step in his career, leading to a debút for the first team under Martin Jol's reign in 2010. After Frank de Boer took over as head coach during the current season, Eriksen's value for the team has grown. In a team consisting mainly of academy players - at times 9 out of the 11 first teamers are own youth - with de Boer in charge Ajax aspire to play their famous position play, which suits the young Dane just fine.
At only 19, Christian's cv is impressive. Danish Talent of the Year in 2010, Dutch Cup winner with Ajax season 09/10, appearances at the World Cup, in the Champions League and the Europa League. And perhaps even the league title if Ajax beat FC Twente on the next - and last - match day, in a direct battle for the Eredivisie championship.
Eriksen is one of those players whose individual actions cause you to hold your breath, as he seems to be able to react faster than his opponents can think. Once he has the ball, it's too late for them. He's already gone, rounding up his action cold-blooded and focussed as the ball soars into the back of the net. Eriksen plays with joy, with enthusiasm, is driven and shows a winner's mentality. Whether he's connecting the midfield with the strikers, or makes an amazing run in an individual action, he is one to watch. But hands off, he's ours until 2014.