The England players will gift Christian Eriksen a signed shirt with his name and number 10 on the back before Wednesday’s semi-final, as Kieran Trippier said he was one of a few from Gareth Southgate’s squad who has been in touch with the Dane.
The Atletico Madrid full-back praised the “togetherness” that Denmark have shown since Eriksen’s shocking collapse on the second day of Euro 2020, as they have proven there is more about them than an emotional wave. Trippier nevertheless believes that England have taken a “step forward” since their 2018 World Cup semi-final, and are ready to break one of the last psychological barriers.
He said Eriksen’s collapse had weighed over their own tournament, especially as so many of the squad are former teammates of the playmaker from Tottenham Hotspur. They all watched that match between Denmark and Finland on the team bus from training ahead of their own opening game against Croatia. Tripper naturally got a touch emotional talking about a good friend.
“We were on the coach, before the Croatia game. We saw it on the screens. Yeah, It’s just good to see him.
“Look, it’s just important that he is here with us. He’s getting better, he’s making progress.
“You know… it’s just hard to put into words because I’ve played with him; I was close with Christian. The most important thing is that he is getting better. I messaged him. I didn’t do it straight away, I messaged him through social media. It’s private what he said. This is the time to give him privacy, with his family and his children. We just want him to make progress in his recovery.”
Trippier expressed his huge admiration for the response of the Danish team to what was a traumatic incident.
“With everything that went on with Christian, they’ve shown that real togetherness and have done really well and deserve to be where they are. Rightly so. They have a very good team and if anyone thinks it will be easy they are mistaken as it will be a tough game. We’ve played them twice in the last year and a half and it will be tough. We just need to focus on ourselves. We have been working hard since the last game and we’ll be ready as soon as we cross that white line. We want to win, it’ll be tough but hopefully we will.”
Should England do so, it will be a first major tournament final since 1966, after four semi-final failures since then. That includes the 2018 game against Croatia under Gareth Southgate, but Trippier insists it does not weigh on the team.
“No regrets. We are in a position now where we just want to create our own history,” Trippier said. “That’s all we want to do. But I think from the two years I think the team has changed a lot. There are only maybe six or seven of us from the World Cup team. We’ve got so much good young talent. It is there for everyone to see the attacking players we’ve got. I think we’ve taken that step forward from 2018. The Nations League we were in the semi final and now we are playing Denmark. I feel we’ve made a real good progression over the years. Again, it comes from Gareth.”
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