Conte has finally offered Eriksen a second chance at Inter Milan

Antonio Conte wants Christian Eriksen to be his new Andrea Pirlo as the pandemic hits Inter Milan’s finances but offers a second chance in a fresh role to their enigmatic midfielder… and he could be thrown into the deep end against Juventus tonight

  • Antonio Conte deemed Christian Eriksen unsuitable as an attacking midfielder 
  • Eriksen played well as a deep-lying playmaker in several recent matches
  • Andrea Pirlo played a huge role in Conte winning three Scudettos at Juventus 
  • Now the former Chelsea boss is hoping Eriksen can help win him a fourth as boss
  • Inter face Juve in the Coppa Italia tonight and Eriksen is likely to get his chance 

Christian Eriksen’s change of role at Inter Milan may have originally been a sign of desperation to improve his fortunes at the club yet it seems to be one of the best ideas Antonio Conte has had in recent months. 

Eriksen arrived in Milan in January 2020 to take on the role of a wide midfielder but for Conte he was not suitable to play in his 3-5-2 formation, and he has been used sparingly by the Italian for the majority of his Inter career.

But after many months on the bench and just four Serie A starts this term, the penny appeared to drop for Eriksen when Inter beat Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia last month, with the Dane playing as a deep-lying playmaker for the first time.

Antonio Conte has made the decision to change Christian Eriksen’s (centre) position

Conte (centre) deemed Eriksen unsuitable to play as a wide midfielder in his system

In that game at the base of the midfield, he won possession back more often than any of his team-mates and completed more passes in the opposition half than any other player on the pitch.

With Conte not able to bring in any fresh faces during the January transfer window due to the economic crisis at the club caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the former Chelsea boss was left with no choice but to try to enhance the players he already had at his disposal to try to claim the club’s first Serie A title since the 2009/10 season. 

One of the players he needs to obtain more yield from is Eriksen, and while the Dane is slow, the performance hinted that he has a lot of quality like Andrea Pirlo, who enjoyed the best days of his career positioned as a deep-lying force in the Juventus midfield.

Conte won the first three Scudettos of his career partly thanks to Pirlo’s performances in the position at Juventus.

But the Dane was deployed as a deep-lying playmaker in the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina

Now Conte will hope he can emulate Andrea Pirlo’s (centre left) success under him at Juventus

Having failed as a playmaker behind the strikers, Eriksen will be now be handed the role of playmaker in front of the defence, just like Pirlo was following Carlo Ancelotti’s extraordinary intuition to play him there in the first place at AC Milan. 

Eriksen played in the position again last month in the win against Benevento, and at 28 the change of role could be the turning point in his career, and he will be aiming to help the club create history this season after many frustrating months on the bench. 

‘We’ve had time to work with Eriksen on a tactical front in the playmaker role, the one [Marcelo] Brozovic usually has,’ Conte told Rai Sport last month.

Eriksen played in that role against Benevento too as he looks to resurrect his career

‘I’m expecting big things from him in this position. There are positive and negative moments in a player’s career and you always need to show character to drag yourself out of those troubles.’

The switch in role for Eriksen comes as a drastic change just a few months after Conte cast doubt on whether the Danish midfielder could play in front of the defence. 

In quotes carried by Goal, the Inter coach said in November: ‘In my opinion he cannot play in front of the defence. 

‘He has an important shot, right and left, so putting him in front of the defence would totally distort him. This is my technical evaluation.’ 

Eriksen’s stunning free-kick winner against rivals AC Milan has given him renewed confidence

Eriksen’s ability to use both right and left foot to equal effect adds another string to his bow in his new position, and should he take advantage of the new opportunity handed to him on the pitch he can become an important member of the starting XI.

The Dane’s dramatic 97th-minute free-kick against AC Milan that saw Inter go through to the semi-final of the Coppa Italia at the expense of their rivals in a fiery derby has given the player renewed confidence.

And after he and chief executive Giuseppe Marotta ruled out a January exit following his stunning, match-winning brilliance, Conte now wants to give the former Tottenham star a new opportunity as a leader in place of Brozovic, although the latter started ahead of Eriksen in both the 2-1 defeat by Juventus in the Coppa Italia semi-final first leg and the 2-0 win over Fiorentina last Friday.

Tonight, however, sees Inter needing to overturn that deficit against Juve in the second leg of the semi-final at the Allianz Stadium if they are to reach the showpiece for the first time in 10 years, and Conte looks set to shake things up again by using Eriksen, possibly instead of Brozovic. 

The clash will provide further insight into Conte’s thinking, and could go a long way to deciding Eriksen’s future. 

Now he is set to be given the chance by Conte to replace Marcelo Brozovic (left) in midfield

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