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Martin Keown: Tottenham need to start 27-year-old at Arsenal

Mauricio PochettinoMauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino (Photo: Screengrab)

Martin Keown has urged Mauricio Pochettino to start Christian Eriksen for Tottenham Hotspur’s clash against Arsenal at The Emirates on Sunday afternoon.

The Denmark international’s future has been a source of relentless debate over the summer months amid reported interest from La Liga giants Real Madrid.

Although the Premier League’s transfer window has shut, Real Madrid are still able to sign players until the European transfer window closes on 2 September.

Eriksen was a second-half substitute in Tottenham’s 1-0 loss to Newcastle United at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium last weekend as Spurs suffered their first defeat of the season.

Former Arsenal defender Keown says Tottenham can ill-afford to omit Eriksen from their starting line up for their clash against the Gunners in the north London derby.

“Christian Eriksen remains a Tottenham player for now, but he could become the first casualty of their failure to win a trophy under Mauricio Pochettino,” Keown told the Daily Mail.

“I read recently that, based on figures from last season, Spurs were sixth in the Premier League for the average annual salary they paid their players.

“Tottenham’s players were paid £3.5m on average in 2018-19. Manchester United topped the table, paying wages of £6.5m per player, followed by Manchester City on £6m.

“Eriksen signed for Tottenham in 2013 and he did not go there for money. I don’t think he wants to leave for money now, either.

“We know Tottenham have been trying to tie him to a new deal but the Denmark playmaker has shot down those talks. Money is not the issue. The reason Eriksen wants to leave is because he craves silverware.

“He helped Tottenham get to the Champions League final but left with a runners-up medal. That is not good enough, as far as he is concerned. The best players want to win those competitions.

“Tottenham have until Monday to ignore interest from abroad and keep the 27-year-old. As long as they have him, Spurs must use him.

“Any starting line-up including Eriksen is far better than one without him.”

Arsenal haven’t lost in the north London derby at The Emirates since 2010 despite their well-documented struggles under Emery’s predecessor Arsene Wenger towards the end of the Frenchman’s reign.

Tottenham have finished in the top four in the last four seasons under current manager Mauricio Pochettino to find a level of consistency in the top flight.

Arsenal beat Newcastle and Burnley in their opening two Premier League games before a 3-1 loss to Liverpool FC last weekend.

Tottenham have only collected four points from their opening three games.

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