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Christian Eriksen hitting his brilliant best at the perfect time for Tottenham

The Danish international is enjoying his best form yet in a Spurs shirt.

Jake Jackman

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Christian Eriksen
Photo: Getty Images

Tottenham have a great record against Stoke in the Premier League and had won in four of their last five matches at the Bet365 Stadium, but they had to dig in to collect the points on Saturday.

The home side didn’t lie down and showed fight as they attempt to climb out of danger at the bottom of the Premier League table. The visitors needed one of their players to step up and deliver a match-winning performance, which is exactly what Christian Eriksen managed to do.

The development of this Tottenham team has been great to watch in recent seasons.

Harry Kane and Dele Alli have both emerged as two of the best English players in the Premier League, while Son Heung-Min’s development has seen him earn a lot of praise.

However, Eriksen doesn’t get the credit that he deserves for his improvement and consistency in midfield.

Since Mauricio Pochettino took over, the Danish international has been a regular starter, but he has had to play in a number of different positions.

Eriksen has shown good adaptability and this season has managed to bring his game to a new level operating in a freer role behind the striker. The return of Kane on Saturday was important as that provides more freedom to his midfield team-mate to roam and run the game.

Against Stoke, Eriksen showed the threat he poses in the final third, both with his goal threat and creativity.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

The opening goal came when Dele Alli held up the ball and played a nice cut-back to the onrushing 26-year-old who coolly finished the move.

It was a great show of awareness and desire from the Danish international as he busted a gut to make sure his team-mate had an option. He is often praised for his passing and creativity, but this goal showed that he can offer more than that.

During the match, he had six shots and made two key passes, in addition to completing two tackles. It was a complete performance from Eriksen and he played a huge role in the winning goal.

There has been a lot of debate about who scored the winner, but the majority of news sources have given it to the Dane. Regardless of whether Harry Kane got a touch or not, it was an excellent set-piece delivery and it was a piece of skill that led to the goal.

This is set to be Eriksen’s best goal-scoring season since arriving at the club. He has now reached the ten-goal mark and he has only managed to do that once before, which came during the 2014/15 season and, with six matches to play, he is likely to better that tally.

This season his shooting accuracy has increased to 67% from 52% last season. That represents a sharp increase and suggests that he has been working on that part of his game.

In terms of creativity, his contribution and underlying stats have slightly regressed, but he remains one of the best midfielders in the league in this department.

(Photo by Roland Harrison/Getty Images)

His averages chances created per ninety minutes has dropped from 3.19 to 2.59. Meanwhile, he has eight assists this season, which is down from 15. That will be an area of disappointment, but it has been a positive season of continued improvement, overall, from Eriksen.

Tottenham remain in the driving seat when it comes to finishing in the Champions League places as they have established a healthy lead over Chelsea. However, Pochettino won’t want to settle for that and will want his players to push on to finish as high as possible.

At the time of writing, they are four points behind Manchester United in second and are set to face Jose Mourinho’s men in the FA Cup semi-final.

If they are to finish second and win the FA Cup, they will need Eriksen as his best and his performance on Saturday suggests that he is hitting top form at the right time of the season.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Liverpool

Liverpool should use Alberto Moreno in Jamaal Lascelles pursuit

The Spaniard is struggling for first-team football at Liverpool.

Mathew Coull

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Liverpool have had an excellent season, making it to the Champions League final and finishing in the Premier League top four. But the building for next season is also set to get underway soon and Liverpool still want to further improve their backline. A new centre-back is set to be targeted and The Independent believe that Jamaal Lascelles could be the man Liverpool turn to, with James Tarkowski of Burnley also mentioned.

Lascelles would obviously be a top option. The Newcastle captain has been an inspiration for the club this campaign and many were surprised he did not make it into Gareth Southgate’s plans for the World Cup.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St. James Park on April 15, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

But he will not come cheap and after Liverpool spent big on Virgil Van Dijk in January the Tyneside club will be pushing the price up.

However, could Liverpool have a secret weapon in the form of Alberto Moreno?

Back in 2015 Rafa Benitez very nearly signed Moreno. The deal with Liverpool was done but, with Alvaro Arbeloa sticking around, Benitez decided Moreno was no longer needed and the deal was pulled off the table.

That was whilst manager at Real Madrid. Moreno would be an excellent option to further improve Newcastle and provide some competition to Paul Dummett in the left-back position.

(during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield on March 6, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Liverpool paid Sevilla around £12 million, as reported by The Telegraph, to sign Moreno back in 2014 but he has struggled for consistency since his arrival at Anfield. This season he has been replaced by Andrew Robertson, after spending most of last season behind James Milner in the pecking order.

Throwing Moreno into any deal would have to see Newcastle decrease the fee they might ask for to let their captain go this summer. Newcastle would be getting their hands on a 25-year-old Spanish international and a handsome sum of money, whilst Liverpool would get their defensive target.

It would be a fine piece of business for both clubs.

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England

Gareth Southgate’s Harry Kane decision was the first of a hopeful campaign for England

Max Cohen

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Harry Kane
Photo: Getty Images

England National Team manager Gareth Southgate announced Harry Kane would be the country’s next captain on Tuesday, much to the delight of the 24-year-old striker.

Kane expressed his appreciation on Twitter, posting a picture of himself shaking hands with Southgate and describing it as “a very proud day.”

The Tottenham Hotspur star is a fantastic choice to captain England in this summer’s World Cup, as the country’s best player is known to lead effectively and serve as an immaculate example for his teammates.

Although Kane does not wear the captain’s armband at club level (that honour goes to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris), the Englishman nevertheless has all the characteristics of an impressive skipper.

Some may argue that the captaincy should go to defenders or central midfielders rather than attackers, yet if a player has the passion required, their position is irrelevant.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Kane is a player who undoubtedly loves playing for the Three Lions and has an excellent record of 12 goals in his 23 caps.

He might not be the most vocal and animated of leaders on the pitch, but his work ethic, desire, and knack for scoring crucial goals are all attributes his fellow Englishman can look up to.

The Tottenham forward is certain to be one of the first names on the teamsheet in Russia, and this consistency is crucial for Kane’s captaincy.

Southgate recognised these ever-present qualities as vital parts of Kane’s character, commending the striker’s diligence and determination.

“Harry has some outstanding personal qualities,” Southgate told the Evening Standard. “He is a meticulous professional and one of the most important things for a captain is that they set the standard every day.”

The Tottenham Hotspur striker will surely reward his manager’s faith by serving England proud as captain this summer, and Kane will be remembered as a legend if his goals can fire the Three Lions deep into the tournament.

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Derby County

Another blow for Derby who are set to lose talented youngster Luke Thomas

The 19-year-old is being linked with a move to the top flight.

Josh Kerr

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Luke Thomas
Photo: Getty Images

After losing manager Gary Rowett to Stoke City last night, who guided the club to a sixth-place finish, the Rams are already awaiting another setback as talented youngster Luke Thomas is reportedly preparing to leave Pride Park.

According to Gloucestershire Live, West Ham United have launched a £1.2 million bid to lure Thomas to the Premier League after Derby missed out on promotion, losing their play-off semi-final to Fulham over two legs.

Thomas moved to Pride Park in January 2016 from Cheltenham Town and the Gloucestershire club will reportedly receive a portion of any potential transfer fee.

The 19-year-old, who is from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire has so far made two substitute appearances for the first team, in home wins over Queens Park Rangers and Bolton Wanderers.

The loss of Thomas may not prove as costly as manager Rowett. However, the potential departure of the teenager comes at an awful time for Rams supporters considering he is considered one of their most promising academy players.

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Thomas gained valuable senior experience after he spent time on loan at Gloucester City in 2016/17, impressing for the then National League North outfit.

He is a versatile attacking midfielder who has made a name for himself in his home county. He is considered one of the best youngsters to come out of Gloucestershire in recent years, and Derby losing him could soon prove a huge loss.

The arrival of Manuel Pellegrini at West Ham, who likes to play an attacking brand of football, will come as exciting news to Thomas who, could have a huge future at the London club if the move goes through.

The forward made 17 Premier League 2 appearances for the Rams under-23 side, scoring six goals and providing one assist.

It is a big fee to pay for a youngster but the price tag only represents how talented this forward is. If reports are true, it could be another huge loss for the Rams.

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