Joachim Andersen says seeing Denmark teammate Christian Eriksen collapse on the pitch at EURO 2020 last summer gave him a fresh perspective on the fragility of life.
Joachim Anderson said: “It was awful what happened. I could see from the sideline that it was a strange situation. Luckily he’s had a fantastic recovery, and the way he’s performed in the Premier League has been amazing. Obviously, in the moment, we were really affected by it, the whole squad. We had some psychologists come and help the players who needed that.”
Denmark were made to fulfil their fixture against Finland, which they lost 1-0, on the same evening that Eriksen had collapsed. This sparked outrage from several players and former pros, including goalkeeper and Danish legend Peter Schmeichel who said the team were given no choice but to play the game.
Joachim Anderson added: “It gave us a little bit of togetherness through the Euros, and we performed really well, so that just shows how strong our team is. And with this togetherness, we can achieve some big things. You realize that your life can be gone like that. It’s awful to think about it because he’s so fit, he’s so healthy, and you can never imagine that something like this could happen. So you need to be grateful for every day. You need to enjoy playing football and enjoy life. You never know what’s going to happen.”
The Danes, who recently came from behind to beat 2018 World Cup champions France 2-1 in Paris in the UEFA Nations League, are now eyeing up Qatar 2022 as a chance to prove themselves as one of the top footballing nations. Andersen, who played the full 90 minutes at the Parc des Princes, is expected to be a part of Kasper Hjulmand’s squad to go to the Middle East for the tournament.
Joachim Anderson said: “The World Cup is a dream for every player. We think we can go far in the tournament and hopefully show everyone how good a team we think we are. If you believe in it, which we do, big things can happen.”
But before Qatar, Andersen will be focused on starting his third conductive Premier League season strongly. The defender arrived in the English top-flight in 2019 with Fulham but failed to save them from relegation before linking up with former World Cup winner Patrick Vieira at Crystal Palace in south London.
Joachim Anderson added: “I thought that it would be really interesting to try to build something new [at Crystal Palace] and be a big part of that. The second half of the season, I think we matured a lot. I think we grew as a team and also individually. [Vieira] was also one of the reasons I wanted to join Palace. I knew him from Nice when he was manager there, and I played in Lyon, so I knew his playing style and knew he wanted to play possession-based football. I thought it was a good match, and I had some good conversations with him before joining Palace. He’s really a good manager, and I’ve loved working under him. I’ve learned a lot this year already.”
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