Manchester United must make tough decision to get even more out of Christian Eriksen – Manchester Evening News

Man Utd signed Christian Eriksen for free in the summer transfer window following his release from Brentford and he has impressed in red.
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There is an argument to be made that Christian Eriksen has been the biggest success story under Erik ten Hag so far.
Sure, he might not be revered quite as highly as fellow summer signing Casemiro or have enjoyed a resurgent run of form quite like Marcus Rashford. But he has already exceeded many people's expectations at Old Trafford, and often looks like he has been part of the team for years.
Even after an impressive season with Brentford last year, it is fair to say Eriksen's expectations were lower when he made the move to Old Trafford and faced intense media scrutiny in his new surroundings.
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Most people expected him to occupy a squad role when he arrived for free, with the Denmark international viewed as the perfect low-cost addition to the team that had just lost a number of key midfielders.
Yet rather than simply making up the numbers, Eriksen has been leading them, with an impressive return of two goals and eight assists, as well as a catalogue of irresistible midfield masterclasses.
The 30-year-old is perfectly aligned with everything Ten Hag is trying to do at United and is trusted to ensure his game plan is executed correctly on the pitch.
Eriksen is not only the embodiment of the calmness and composure the manager wants, but he is also the heartbeat of the team, quietly going about his business in the background with the minimum of fuss.
His impact has been so huge that he has played a part in every game across every competition since he joined the club, though he has only played the entirety of one match since returning from the World Cup.
United's issue with Eriksen is that he has exceeded expectations so much that they now struggle to cope without him. It doesn't have to be that way.
The former Tottenham man is at his best when his minutes are managed carefully, and performance levels tend to drop after a prolonged run in the team when he isn't getting much rest.
It means United will need to keep a close eye on Eriksen during their packed fixture schedule, and that could well result in him being dropped from the line-up for one of their matches this week.
While the Danish playmaker struggled to make much of an impression in the derby win, there is an argument for him to keep his place against Crystal Palace tomorrow night, given his expertise as a master lock pick.
In that case, Fred could be the one to lose his place for the midweek trip before being recalled to the side to perform the same combative role that he shone in so brightly against City.
United needed to find a way to ease their reliance on Eriksen, and it seems that in matches when they don't have much of the ball, the best way to do it is by bringing energy into the midfield in place of attacking enterprise.
In the long run, there is still a need for another creative midfielder who can replace the same traits the great Dane possesses, though it might be Zidane Iqbal or Kobbie Mainoo if their talent is nurtured carefully.
The victory over City should open Ten Hag's eyes to the fact that his side can still function, albeit differently, without the player he trusts so much and give greater scope to rest him in the weeks ahead.
Eriksen might well be the greatest success story so far, and with added rest, he might be about to get even better.
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