An article by ESPN describes how wherever Eric Dier has played under Mauricio Pochettino, a replacement and improvement has consistently been sought.
He was signed in the summer of 2014, with his unorthodox route to the Premier League, which took him via the Sporting Lisbon youth team a surprise, he was an unknown entity on these shores, and the article adds how it was a shock to see him thrown in at the deep end on the first day of the season, starting at centre-back away to West Ham.
It goes on to describe how Dier was moved to right-back after Kyle Naughton’s sending off midway through the first half, and ended up scoring a memorable 90th minute winner, running on to Harry Kane’s through ball in a position you’d expect to find a left-winger, before rounding Adrian like a seasoned centre-forward and tapping home.
It adds how Dier’s debut was far from conventional and so too has his ascendance been since the England man started 25 league games in his first season at Spurs; 11 at right-back and 14 in central defence. It added that the team showed signs of improvement in Pochettino’s first season, but ended the campaign fifth. Improvements were needed in the summer.
So in case Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer at centre-back and Kieran Trippier as Kyle Walker’s deputy at right-back and ordinarily that might have looked like Dier’s time was up, however he swiftly moved to – and became a fixture in – defensive midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Pochettino recognising the potential to adapt a player he already had in his squad. Spurs finished third as Leicester won the title.
Further competition was added despite a hugely impressive season, Victor Wanyama was brought in and displaced Dier in midfield. Dier then spent most of the season as part of a three-man defence as we thrilled on the pitch and were unfortunate to be beaten to top spot by Chelsea.
It happened again then in the summer we broke our transfer record to sign £42 million Davinson Sanchez – a direct replacement for Dier in the back three, and one that was ready for the Premier League right away.
With Wanyama making midfield spot his own, starting 35 out of 38 Premier League games, the future looked tough for Dier.
Our best team arguably had no spot for Dier however the article adds Pochettino never doubted Dier’s importance, and refused to cave in any way to Manchester United’s advances to sign him.
The article then adds that this season that Dier has been shunted around the starting lineup to accommodate other players and changes to the formation, but it does say that he is so much more than the utility player this might suggest.
It adds that he made sure Wanyama’s absence was not felt too harshly; he slotted into defence seamlessly in both Real Madrid ties and its adds how we escaped with a pretty fortunate draw at Watford after Sanchez’s red card, in no small part thanks to Dier’s versatility.
It goes on to describe how Dier celebrated his 24th birthday this week, but both the way he plays and his attitude off the pitch suggest a maturity few others boast.
Being touted as a future England and the article adds that he will be one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s teamsheet in Russia this summer even if his position at Tottenham continues to chop and change for the second half of the season.
It goes on to say that in the past three campaigns, Dier has started 93 of a possible 99 Premier League games – the sixth most in the top flight in that time adding that his versatility does not count against him, as it so often does for players like Dier. He remains one of Pochettino’s most trusted lieutenants.
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