Gareth Southgate pays tribute to Copenhagen heroes as stunned England cancel press conference

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The news that Christian Eriksen was fighting for his life on the pitch this evening left every England player in shock – but for Harry Kane the horror would have been even more profound.

Not only are the pair great friends, but it was Eriksen who provided the cross which enabled the England captain to score his first Premier League goal for Tottenham in April 2014.

Kane was preparing to face the media alongside Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate ahead of the Euro opener against Croatia tomorrow when his former Spurs team-mate collapsed during Denmark's clash with Finland in Copenhagen.

The rest of England's contingent were in transit to their overnight hotel in North London as the drama unfolded.

Denmark's players formed a wall around Eriksen as he received length on-field treatment
(Image: Wolfgang Rattay/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

The football world held its collective breath as medics treated the 29-year-old midfielder for several agonising minutes while the fans in the Parken Stadium offered up their prayers.

Kane's thoughts would have also been with Eriksen – and would have been delighted to hear that his friend had been revived before being transferred to hospital.

The Football Association cancelled all official media engagements as a mark of respect to the Dane.

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UEFA agreed to their request immediately – leaving Kane and the rest of Southgate's squad to reflect on how close the delayed tournament came to being stained by tragedy.

Southgate said: “We are encouraged by the update from the Danish FA this evening.

“On behalf of the FA, our players and staff, we send our very best wishes to Christian and those close to him.

“We pay tribute to those who went to his aid with such care to give the support he received.

England cancelled their media commitments following the concerning Eriksen news

“Our thoughts remain with Christian and his family tonight.”

England's game with Croatia at Wembley on Sunday will go ahead as planned.

Eriksen, who left Tottenham to join Inter Milan in January 2020, contributed heavily to Kane's productivity in front of goal for six years.

The striker has scored 166 times in the Premier League.

Kane and Eriksen developed a close bond, on and off the field during the Dane's time in north London
(Image: PA)

But his first – a close-range strike in a 5-1 victory over Sunderland – is one he will cherish forever.

Eriksen's inswinging cross from the left was perfect and Kane stabbed the ball past Black Cats keeper Vito Mannone.

It was the first of 23 assists that the Dane provided for the striker who gradually became the club's talisman.

And while the pair became a devastating duo on the pitch, off it they struck up a close relationship.

Kane said in 2015: "We play very well together. We have an understanding around the 18-yard box about the movements we are going to make.

“We get on really well off the pitch too. The more chances he makes for me, the better!”

After the good news from Copenhagen that Eriksen had been stabilised, Southgate will be hoping that Kane and the rest of his players can put the trauma of the incident behind them when they face the nation that beat them in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

Kane was a youngster coming through the ranks at Spurs when Bolton's Fabrice Muamba had a brush with death after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch during an FA Cup tie in March 2021.

Harry Kane was a youngster at Spurs when Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch while playing for Bolton

Kyle Walker, who is expected to start the game at right-back, was in Tottenham's team that night.

So were Croatia captain Luca Modric and Wales star Gareth Bale.

Muamba's heart stopped for 78 minutes despite receiving several defibrillator shocks on the pitch and in the ambulance that transported him from White Hart Lane to the specialist coronary care unit at the London Chest Hospital.

Doctors were astonished by the speed of recovery and he was discharged a month later after being fitted with an cardiovascular defibrillator.

Muamba, who had to retire from the game, was watching on TV when Eriksen was fighting for his life.

The former England Under-21 international Tweeted “Please God” as medics treated the Danish midfielder.

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