LONDON: Christian Eriksen is back: 259 days after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Euro 2020 finals the 30-year-old Dane returned to competitive football as a 52nd-minute substitute in Brentford’s Premier League relegation duel against Newcastle.

This was an emotional moment. Eriksen’s family, including his parents, children and some of the medical staff who cared for him were watching in the stands. Even the voice of the stadium announcer cracked as he told fans of the change. Eriksen was welcomed by a standing ovation around the ground.

Coincidentally, he came on as a substitute for Mathias Jensen, the Denmark team-mate who had replaced Eriksen that day last June.

Eriksen has told his team-mates not to worry about his ICD heart device and not go easy on him in training but opponents are a different issue. No-one clattered into him as he produced touches of class which augur well for Brentford in the rest of the season.

Soon after arriving he won a corner, ran eagerly over to take it then set up two late half-chances on which Ivan Toney and Vitaly Janelt could not capitalise.

Manager Thomas Frank thinks it will take three or four games for Eriksen to find his rhythm. Frank said: “It was a big moment for everyone involved in football. It was a big moment for Christian and his family. Hopefully he should now talk only with his feet and speak about football instead of anything else.”

Eriksen said: “To go through what I’ve been through, being back is a wonderful feeling. It’s been very special since day one. Brentford have taken good care of me. Everyone’s been really happy about it and everyone’s been really helpful.

“Everyone is here. My family, my parents, my kids, my mother-in-law and some doctors who have been helping me back and forth. What they’ve been through is even tougher than what I’ve been through. If you take away the result, I’m one happy man.”

The result was a 2-0 defeat in which Brentford played 79 minutes with 10 men after an early red card for Josh Dasilva. They last won a league game on January 2. Firsthalf goals from Joelinton and Joe Willock had the game decided before Eriksen arrived.