CHRISTIAN Eriksen celebrated his 30th birthday by returning to football for the first time since suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch in June last year.

The Denmark international played an hour of new club Brentford’s 3-2 behind-closed-doors friendly victory over Southend on Monday afternoon.

Lining up in central midfield, Eriksen was twice denied by goalkeeper Collin Andeng Ndi, but left the pitch having contributed an assist by setting up Josh Dasilva for the first goal of his hat-trick.

The Dane joined the Bees until the end of the season as a free agent on transfer deadline day.

He had been training with former club Ajax after leaving Inter Milan by mutual consent as the rules in Italy would not allow him to play after having an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) device fitted.

Eriksen revealed last month he had “died for five minutes” after collapsing during Denmark’s Euro 2020 clash with Finland.

He was treated on the pitch as his shocked team-mates formed a barrier around him before being taken to hospital.

The former Tottenham star was given a rapturous welcome when he was presented to the crowd ahead of Saturday’s 0-0 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace, and will now hope for a debut either at Arsenal this weekend or when Newcastle head for London a week later.

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