Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Christian Eriksen has credited Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp for helping him develop the creative side of his game during his younger days at Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie.
The Dane is now a regular under Mauricio Pochettino following his move to the Premier League in 2013 and has been in fine form for club and country in the last 12 months. He recently starred in his country's progress to the 2018 World Cup, scoring a hat-trick during their 5-1 win over the Republic of Ireland in their World Cup qualifier.
Eriksen was speaking ahead of the north London derby on Saturday, 18 November, when Spurs travel to the Emirates, with the midfielder a certain starter. He has scored four goals and assisted as many in 15 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham so far this season.
Bergkamp joined Ajax two years after his retirement in a formal coaching role and worked his way up the age groups before being named assistant to Frank de Boer in the first team. He continues to work with the Ajax first team under current coach Marcel Keizer.
Eriksen came through the youth ranks at the Eredivisie club and revealed that he worked with the Gunners legend before his breakthrough into the first team.
"In my first year at Ajax we had some sessions with Dennis Bergkamp and Wim Jonk," Eriksen said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"We did this passing drill with a striker from the team. We worked on certain movements, learning how to measure runs and then passing the ball to exactly the right place at exactly the right moment.
"Even then, you could always see Dennis' charisma and confidence on the ball. He always knew how to take his first touch and where the ball needed to end up afterwards," the Spurs star explained. "I learned a lot from watching him and working with him. It helped me when I made it through to the first team."
The Denmark international's recent exploits for club and country have attracted the attention of Barcelona, who are said to view him as a perfect alternate for Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, who remains their first choice.