Eriksen's first interview in full
Christian Eriksen provided a detailed interview with club media after signing on the dotted line for Manchester United.
The Denmark playmaker opted to join the Reds after his short-term contract at Brentford expired.
After being previously linked with a switch to Old Trafford on a number of occasions, the midfielder is eagerly awaiting the chance to start his United career and make a big impact on the pitch.
Check out every word of his exclusive chat with reporter Steve Bennett...
"Ah, very new! It’s weird, I never thought it would actually happen, so to be here, like you say being a Manchester United player, it’s very special."
You mention there that you maybe didn’t think it was going to happen for you, but it’s a club you’ve always been linked with, so did you feel like maybe it was inevitable that you might end up at Manchester United?
"No, because I think from my career path before the incident in the Euros, the planning wasn’t to go back to the UK at all. I was thinking my time to go to Manchester United was before! Obviously, then I was at Spurs, and then went to Italy, but now to sit here is definitely something that I didn’t expect, but I'm also very happy that I’m here. It feels good, it feels good to be here."
You spent last season with Brentford and, this summer, you had plenty of options, so what attracted you to come to Manchester United, in particular?
"First of all, the football. I mean, I’m a guy who wants to play football and I think with the idea of the manager coming in and the ideas he had and also with my conversations with him, I mean I could see myself playing football in Manchester. And, at the same time, it’s a very, very big club – if not the biggest. If you pronounce it anywhere they know where it’s from, they know where the locals come from. It has a big history and it’s a nice feeling to be part of something that is that big in history."
You talked about the manager there – how influential was Erik in getting you to the football club?
"Very. I want to come here to play football, I don’t come here just for the logo itself, I want to come here and play. Obviously to speak with the manager and hear his ideas and have conversations with him on the football terms was great and ideal for me to get the decision and the possibility of coming to Manchester United."
Erik’s Ajax teams were traditionally a very attacking style of football that you know well – is that something that you feel attracted you to this football club as well, that you know the way that Erik will play?
"Yeah, I think my style of play hopefully fits in with his ideas and hopefully it’s something that will connect in a good and positive way. So of course, his style of football, I think it suits me."
"To be honest, I didn’t follow it that much last campaign. I was focused on the first part of the season, which was about my rehab and, afterwards was my Brentford season, so my focus was there. Of course, we played against United at Old Trafford and it was a good game, but my focus was of course at my previous club. But no, I think with United in general, everyone follows it on the outside. A lot of people has an opinion. I think it’s healthy and a good way to be part of it and see what it’s like and feel it: what it’s like to play for Manchester United. It’s a good thing."
Who do you already know in the dressing room here? Obviously we’re aware of the connection with Brandon Williams with what happened last season – is there anyone else who’s a familiar face to you?
"[Laughs] What do we call that – a connection?! Ah, okay, okay! [laughs again] Yeah, you know I’ve played against everyone, I don’t think there’s one player I don’t know by name. So of course I’ve played against them all. I don’t have any players that I’ve played with before in the club so it’ll be a new thing. It’ll be fun to learn a lot of new faces, a lot of new players which I’ve seen and played against, but not to play with. It’s different, but it’s all about making a connection."
You came back to the Premier League with Brentford after spending some time away – do you feel like maybe you’ve had unfinished business in the Premier League? Was that something you’d envisioned? You mentioned earlier that maybe you weren’t sure if you’d ever come back to the English game…
"No, I think back then when I wanted to try something new and left first after more than seven very, very good years, I wanted to try something new and went to Italy. It started off tough but ended up being a very, very good place. And then obviously I was planning to fulfil my contract there being in Italy. But then, like I said, I took time to reflect, and taking in whoever calls and wanted to pick up and, luckily, Thomas [Frank] rang and Brentford was very keen, and I could see myself playing there for six months and see how it went."
"It was lovely, a lovely time. I mean, it goes well, we stayed up in the league of course and the whole atmosphere at the club was turning into something very positive. I’m forever grateful for what they did. I mean, they showed interest, they showed they cared from day one for wanting me back. To be able to give me the stage to perform, and they did, so I had a very good time and like I said, I told them, called them and wished them all the best. It’s a great football club."
United’s first away game in the league, of course, is at Brentford. Will that be a nice opportunity for you to say goodbye to the fans and the staff down there who took such good care of you?
"Yeah, definitely. I’ve spoken to most of them already and said what the future holds. Of course it will be fun to see the fans in the stadium – the atmosphere at the stadium was very nice, it was a very, very good feeling and an impressive atmosphere. But definitely playing as a United player will be very different playing at Brentford compared to being on the home side.
What’s it like being on the other side facing United, how have those experiences been for you?
"They’ve always been very good. There have been some very tough games in between, but always good memories. It’s always been very special to play at Old Trafford. In general, playing against such a big club as Manchester United, there’s always something with it. Like I said, it’s going to be weird being on the other side."
United fans love a creative playmaker – Scholes, Carrick, Charlton, Best, Cantona to name a few. How does it feel to know they’re talking about you in that same breath?
"It means a lot. Like you said, it’s a club with a lot of history. A lot of big, big players have been here, and to be on that list, first of all of course I’m here to play and prove that I can be on that list. But looking back, it’s a big list with some very, very big names."
So what are your ambitions for this season ahead, personally here at United and, of course, professionally at United?
"I’m pretty sure the ambitions are, of course, to be top again. It’s the dream of the club and the history is now being the best, so I think the only aim is to go as high as possible and see where it takes us. But I think the aim is definitely to win something."
You touched on it there that the fans want us to be challenging for trophies where this football club should be challenging – what would be your message to those fans upon your arrival?
"Yeah, I think not only with my arrival, but the whole thing has a good vibe to it. I mean, the whole club seems like it’s in a good place. So hopefully it’s something we can push on. I’ve seen the pre-season games, and it looks good. The team looks good. I think it’s definitely something that we can push for and I hope I can help the fans to be able to come to the games and enjoy the football that we’re going to play."
You’ve committed to a long-term contract here at United. Could you see yourself potentially ending your career here?
"I don't know! I think I read somewhere that you have to be 35 before you can retire so I’ll be 33 when the contract ends, so I’ll have a few years left. Like I said, you never know what football holds. I’ve experienced that very close by. Something can happen, so you really have to do one day at a time. Say one day at a time and see what comes and goes but no, I’m just pleased to be here and we’ll see what the future holds."
You talked about your ambitions there with United but what about with your national side – it’s a big year for the Danish side, isn’t it?
"Yeah, very. From when I did my rehab last year, the aim and the dream was obviously to be back and in condition for the World Cup if I could, and now finally being back and definitely aiming for the World Cup, it’s a good thing. It’s something that I think we all dream about, playing at a World Cup. I’ve been there and done it before and I think it’s something that you keep with you forever. But now going to a World Cup with Denmark again, it’s very special."
What can the players here at United expect from you in and around the dressing room? What are you like?
"Erm, they’ll find out! No, I’m an open person. I like playing football. I like doing the funny bits on the pitch. Being involved, and helping. If I need to help someone I’ll help someone, by being a team player."
"Family man. I want to take good care of my family, obviously use a lot of time with my family and really be there. Then of course at the same time, have a bit of focus on football because that’s where I want to perform, that’s where I want to be at, that’s what I love but obviously on the other side, I’m a chilled man."
You talked about your family there – how proud are you when you see your children cheering you on from the stands?
"Very, very. They’re still a little bit small, I think the oldest one is getting into football more and more, but the younger one has just turned more than one, so it’s a different vibe in the house. It’ll be good in the future when they can look back and see their dad played for some of the clubs I’ve played for."
"Yeah, I had a few. I had Francesco Totti – mostly because at that age I played a lot of Football Manager, so I had took over Roma back in that time! And then after it was Michael Laudrup. As Danes I can pick Michael Laudrup, but I really wasn’t into many idols. I preferred myself to be on the pitch and really just to be outside and play by myself."
Our first league game is on August 7 against Brighton – how excited are you to pull on the red jersey in front of our home fans?
"Very. It’ll be very intense and hopefully a good way to start off my United career. The perfect place to do it, at Old Trafford."
Christian Eriksen could make his first appearance for the club this weekend, with the Reds facing Atletico Madrid in Oslo on Saturday and Rayo Vallecano the following day at Old Trafford.
Both games are live on the United App, MUTV and ManUtd.com.
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