Christian Eriksen has earned his stripes as one of the Premier League's most talented midfielders since he made the jump from Ajax to North London back in the summer of 2013.
Still just 25-years-old, the Danish creator is now looking to conquer the best in Europe, as well as the best in England, when he begins this season's Champions League campaign with Spurs.
As he unveiled Tottenham Hotspur's third kit, which will be worn in Europe this season, Christian Eriksen opened up on his Champions League aspirations, what it's really like for Spurs to be playing at Wembley and whether he's been tempted to discover Tottenham's other great export, Skepta.
“We like playing in the Champions League and the big stage, so there is no better place than Wembley.”
VERSUS: Last season you had a taste of playing Champions League football at Wembley, does playing in such a massive stadium make the games even more intense?
Christian Eriksen: It’s different as we are used to playing at White Hart Lane. We like playing in the Champions League and there is a big stage for it, so there is no better place than Wembley. The atmosphere and the support of the crowds there is incredible so we are always very thankful to the fans for showing up because it make a big difference to the game.
Are the team preparing differently for this year’s Champions League campaign now that you have last year’s experience to draw upon?
I don’t think we are taking it on differently. We are in a different situation and we have matured as a team a bit. We know what it was like last year, so we know what to change and keep the same. I don’t think football wise or tactical wise there will be many changes, I think it is about mentally being where we are now.
Your UCL group includes three of the greatest grounds in Europe – how exciting is it to get the chance to play under lights at the Bernabeu and the Signal Iduna Park, as well as in front of 85,000 home fans at Wembley?
Yeah, it will be incredible. The stadiums you just mentioned are big big stadiums and big big teams so we have a challenge ahead of us. However, the Champions League is only about huge games, so we want to have those kind of opponent. There will be some fun games I think.
You’re lining up against some great playmakers in your UCL group – do you study other players and try and add anything to your game?
I don’t really study other players, I just watch the game to see what they do and then maybe recognize what they could have done, like “he could have passed it there”. But of course, it is always easy to see on the television, it’s always different than being on the pitch. I’m not really studying other players, not anymore.
Does the team study them together?
Our managers and trainers study every opponent. Then if we ask for it or if they have something they want to share, like if they have a point in their game when they’re not as good which you have to take advantage of. Of course, every team 100% knows about the next team they are going to play.
You arguably have the hardest group in the tournament taking on champions Real Madrid and European giants Borussia Dortmund, does this motivate the squad even more?
I’m not sure it motivates us more, everyone is really motivated to show the world that we are a bit better than we were last season. They are big opponents, so there is no better place to test yourself than in the Champions League and against them. We will see how far developed we are as a team.
Do you sing the Champions League anthem when walking out to the ground like we all do at home?
I don’t sing it, but I hum it to myself!
Do you have any special rituals when it comes to a Champions League encounter, is there anything you differently leading up to the game or even on the day in your preparations?
No not really, a game is a game, if it’s the Champions League, or in a cup game. A game is a game. You just need to focus in the same way. But no, I don’t do any special rituals.
Do you have any rituals you do generally?
Sometimes. You always have some, like one day you put your left shoe on first, then next time you think ‘no I will put my right shoe on’. Then it doesn’t matter and you forget about it. I only have one set thing, I eat chicken and pasta the day before a game.
Is there a belief in the squad that you can go all the way to the final in Ukraine?
Of course. But we still have to show in the first few games that we are a team to compete. We have to get the points and we have to do better than last season. We are not at the stage that we should win it yet. Of course, we have our hopes and dreams.
This season’s jerseys have proven popular with the fans – do you think they’ll like the new 3rd kit as well?
I think they will definitely like it. All the kits are very popular and are very, very good kits. They look good and they fit well. So, I can’t see why they wouldn’t like it.
Tottenham the place is on the rise as much as the club itself, how connected do you feel to the area and its culture?
Of course, when we played at White Hart Lane, and the first few years I played there, I was always driving through it and being there you see what happens in the area and with the stadium you see the pictures. I think it is a good improvement to the whole area and of course if you play games and have a very good team to support, it helps.
Do you follow the culture rise in the area? Like Skepta etc?
I’m not really a grime person…maybe Danish grime? (laughs)
The 2017-18 Tottenham Hotspur third kit is available from today at nike.com/tottenhamhotspur