Referee Anthony Taylor's experience as a prison officer at Strangeways helped to save the life of Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen, according to the ref's former mentor.

The 42-year-old official from Altrincham was a prison officer at HMP Manchester, known as Strangeways, before he embarked on his career as a professional ref.

He has been widely praised for his calm demeanour and quick-thinking after Eriksen collapsed during the first half of Denmark's opening Euro 2020 match against Finland in the Parken stadium in Copenhagen on Saturday.

The midfield had to be resuscitated after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch and continues to recover in hospital.

TV cameras showed how Taylor stopped play within four seconds, ushered medical teams to the player and remained calm.

Medics say his prompt action helped save Eriksen's life.

Christian Eriksen has sent a picture of himself giving a thumbs-up from hospital

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge tweeted: "Encouraging news about Christian Eriksen, we are all thinking about him and his family.

"Well done to the medical team and Anthony Taylor for their calm and swift action. W."

In an interview with The Sun, Taylor himself said in 2017: "'There are skills which are interchangeable between working in the prison service and refereeing.

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"'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.

Referee Anthony Taylor acted swiftly on Saturday

"I specialised in control and restrain techniques, educating staff on the best ways to control violent individuals and difficult situations that arise."

Chris Foy, who mentored Taylor when he was establishing himself as a Premier League ref and who now an official at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), told the Daily Mail: "Anthony was a prison officer and I am quite sure he has been in some stressful situations before, but it is how you deal with that.

"The way he dealt with it was prompt, it was quick, it was confident. And it was the right course of action so probably his prison training came in and did give him a bit of help in that situation."

Taylor worked at Strangeways before becoming a ref

He added: "He did a cracking job."

The Referees' Association tweeted: "Anthony Taylor, who has been a vocal supporter of The RA for many years, acted decisively and with the utmost professionalism by recognising the severity of the situation within seconds.

"The football community are quick to criticise match officials, but it has been heartwarming to see Anthony and his team receive positive recognition for their actions on Saturday. Well done Tayls."

Eriksen himself revealed he feels 'fine - under the circumstances' in hospital as investigations into his collapse continue.

The 29-year-old midfielder posted a photograph of himself smiling and making a thumbs-up gesture on his official Instagram account on Tuesday morning accompanied by a message of thanks.

He wrote: "Big thanks for your sweet and amazing greetings and messages from all around the world. It means a lot to me and my family.

"I’m fine – under the circumstances. I still have to go through some examinations at the hospital, but I feel okay.

"Now, I will cheer on the boys on the Denmark team in the next matches. Play for all of Denmark."