Referee Anthony Taylor was widely praised for his response to Christian Eriksen’s on-pitch cardiac arrest during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020 fixture against Finland on Saturday.
Along with the medical staff and Danish captain Simon Kjaer, the Cheshire-based referee’s quick response to the situation and proactiveness helped the situation, and perhaps saved Eriksen’s life.
The situation is one that is difficult to control for anyone, but Taylor’s calmness was appreciated by many – including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – and many have attributed that to his time working at Strangeways, the Manchester prison.
Back in 2017, Taylor told The Sun about his experiences when working at the prison: “There are skills which are interchangeable between working in the prison service and refereeing.
“It's not about red and yellow cards, it's about stopping things happening as much as you can, trying to be proactive.
“Working in a prison meant I needed a lot of communication and management qualities to deal with daily situations.
“I specialised in control and restrain techniques, educating staff on the best ways to control violent individuals and difficult situations that arise.
“I spent a considerable number of years working with those who suffered severe mental health problems, a lot of attempted suicides, that kind of thing.”
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In a later interview with Sky Sports in 2018, Taylor highlighted the mental needs that go into a prison job.
“A lot of preparation goes into the psychological aspect.
“Many of us work hard on having the right process in our minds.
“It's about looking at something, thinking about what has happened and what needs to be done.”
Eriksen left Parken Stadium conscious and the next day, the Danish FA provided positive updates about the player’s conditions and he was also in a good mood, according to his agent.
Earlier today, he posted a picture to his social media feeds, thanking everyone for their support.
“Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world,” Eriksen said.
“I'm fine – under the circumstances.
“I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay."
Denmark will next play Belgium in the Euros on Thursday before wrapping up their group stage campaign against Russia.
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