Will Christian Eriksen play for Brentford today against Crystal Palace?

Christian Eriksen at his Brentford presentation
Eriksen was officially unveiled as a Brentford player on Friday (Image credit: Getty)

Forget Dusan Vlahovic joining Juventus or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moving to Barcelona, the most uplifting story of the transfer window was Brentford signing Christian Eriksen, offering the midfielder a route back into elite football eight months after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch.

Eriksen, who ended his contract with Inter Milan by mutual consent in December, began training with Brentford on Monday and has spoken of his excitement at making his debut for Thomas Frank’s side, saying it is the first step to moving on from the ordeal he suffered last year.

The 29-year-old has not played since collapsing on the pitch in Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland on June 12 but has been reassured by doctors that he is safe to return to competitive football after being fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a type of pacemaker which will force his heart to restart if it stops.

Will Eriksen make his Brentford debut today?

Brentford host Crystal Palace in the Premier League today at 3pm UK time but Eriksen will not be in the matchday squad for the game.

Brentford coach Thomas Frank said last week that the midfielder needs a bit more time to return to full fitness and that he should play a friendly match before making his return to competitive football.

So when will Eriksen return to action?

After hosting Palace, Brentford visit Arsenal on 19 February but that also looks like being a little too soon for Eriksen to make his bow for the Bees. However, the player hinted at his presentation on Friday that his first appearance could come at home to Newcastle on 26 February.

How does he feel about playing again?

Eriksen has revealed that the first thing he told his new team-mates was he did not want any special treatment in training.

He told reporters: "I said: 'I’m here because everything has been cleared; if there are any questions you want to ask me, you can always ask me. Don’t go easy on me, because if there was any concern I wouldn’t be here.'"

The Dane is also on a mission to prove there is a way back to playing from a cardiac arrest. 

He added: "I felt from the beginning of this that I need to prove you can play with an ICD, if something that bad has happened," he added. "You can return to normal life afterwards. That is more motivation for me, to show I am capable of that."

Do any other footballers wear an ICD?

Ajax defender Daley Blind, who came through the club's academy alongside Eriksen, was fitted with an ICD in 2019 after suffering from heart muscle inflammation. The device hasn't held back the Dutchman's career at all and he has played in all 21 of Ajax's league games this season.

Belgian footballer Antony van Loo had an ICD fitted in 2008 after being diagnosed with cardiac problems and the device saved his life a year later when it got his heart to restart during a match for Roeselare in the Belgian top flight.

Van Loo continued playing but was eventually was forced to retire in 2018 at the age of 30, several months after collapsing again on the pitch while playing for Kortrijk in Belgium's lower leagues.

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Richard Martin is an experienced football writer, editor and social media producer. Before returning to London, he spent 10 years in Spain as a football correspondent and has attended over 600 games across 16 countries, his favourite being Argentina. He has also worked for Reuters, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Times and AS.