Ajax wonderkid Christian Eriksen does not regret turning down Chelsea when he was a teenager, instead he choose to play for Ajax.
The Danish international, who will be playing for Ajax tonight against Man United in the Europa League, choose instead to move to the Holland, as first-team opportunities would be more readily available.
Eriksen told the Daily Mail – “I always thought it would be better to go to Holland first, especially because of the position I play and the football I wanted to play.
“Ajax have a tradition of good football and play 4-3-3, which suits me. They also spend lots of money on youth players with the aim of putting them in the first team.
“Top sides in England have to get into the Champions League every year so they are not going to buy a 17-year-old and put him straight in the first team.
“They buy players who can play now. You might not get a game until you are 21. So why should you go there?”
Eriksen got a taste of English football when he was 14 and 15 when he came over for trails during Jose Mourinho’s time in charge at Chelsea.
He continued – “I went to Chelsea twice when I was 14 and 15. I was at Danish club Odense at the time and came across with a friend to Cobham. We played against West Ham youth away and the year after we played Millwall away.
“It was a bit of a shock playing against Millwall. I knew the reputation of English football was tough but my first thoughts when we started were, ‘Wow, this is different to Denmark’.
“They kicked a little more and made crazy tackles but I wasn’t injured when I returned to Denmark so I guess I did ok.”
Last year, Eriksen showed Chelsea what they might have missed when he starred in Denmark’s narrow 2-1 defeat to England at Wembley.
“I liked playing against England because you had a 4-4-2 and there was space for me to go into between the defence and midfield,” Eriksen continued.
“It was a big game for us, special. Maybe for England it wasn’t. I had fun and decided to keep my own shirt as a memory of playing well rather than swapping.”
Eriksen also said he has ambitions of joining one of Europe’s top clubs in search of Champions League success, but will do that when the time is right.
“You can learn so much from training with the top guys,” Eriksen conceded. “You don’t learn from playing against them.
“When it’s time to leave Ajax, I’ll try to go to a bigger team who do well in the Champions League every year and win trophies. But I’d make sure it was somewhere where I wouldn’t just sit on the bench. Right now, my mind is only focused on Ajax.”
At the forefront of his focus will be the two-legged tie against Manchester United, with Eriksen excited by the opportunity to impress against the English champions.
“When we were sitting watching the draw, we thought, ‘Oh no, that’s the team we wanted to avoid’,” Eriksen admitted. “But now we’re excited.”