Joe Morrell has spoken of the disbelief in an “emotional” Wales camp after Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen collapsed and was treated on the pitch before being taken to hospital.
Denmark’s team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed that Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during their Euro 2020 game against Finland on Saturday and that “he was gone” prior to being resuscitated.
The Wales players had returned to their Baku hotel following the 1-1 draw with Switzerland when they discovered what happened in Copenhagen.
“It was horrible to hear,” Morrell said. “I got drugs tested after the game, so I was on the way back with a couple of admin staff and the doctor and I heard about it in the car.
“I came back to the hotel a bit later than the lads and the canteen was just silent.
“It was difficult to comprehend and something that puts it all into perspective, someone who is fit and healthy and that happens to them.
“You come in after a game and you’re thinking about the mistakes you’ve made and the things haven’t gone so well. Then you see something like that. It was quite emotional.”
Wales defender Ben Davies who lived in Denmark for a couple of years in his youth as his father worked in the country, is a good friend of the 29-year-old Eriksen.
The pair spent five-and-a-half seasons together at Tottenham before Eriksen joined Inter Milan in January 2020.
“At the time it was difficult for Ben,” Morrell said. “When the news broke he was pretty upset, which is understandable.
“Someone so close, it must have felt really weird for him knowing his family as well.
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“Even the lads who have never played against him (Eriksen), you share that common bond in that we love what we do and we share that passion for football.
“There was probably a spell of half an hour to 45 minutes which was really difficult for everyone.
“There was a lot of conversation about because you don’t know what’s going on
“It does hit home that there’s more important things than football. As the speculation died down and there was more positive news, you could feel the relief from the camp.
“All the players’ thoughts are with him and hopefully he can have a good recovery.”
Morrell had earlier played a key role in Wales’ second-half equaliser against Switzerland as it was the Luton midfielder’s cross that was headed home by Kieffer Moore.
Wales’ next game is against Turkey in Baku on Wednesday and could come to define the Dragons’ tournament, with their final Group A fixture against section favourites Italy in Rome.
Turkey lost their opening game 3-0 to Italy but can count on the majority of the support inside Baku’s Olympic Stadium, where a 30,000-plus crowd is expected.
“It’s been well-documented that there’s going to be a lot of Turkey fans at the stadium,” said Morrell, who admitted the Wales squad had spotted several Turkish flags during a Baku walkabout on Sunday.
“But it could be an advantage for us and, hopefully, we can feed off the negative energy of the Turkey fans as opposed to the positive one.
“We’re used to that happening as professional footballers. It might be like an away game for us, but we have to thrive on that pressure of being an away team.
“We want to play on the front foot and quieten the crowd – and the best way to do that is to score a goal.
“The aim is to get the first goal, that’s important in international football and with the record that we’ve got when we go in front.”