Andros Townsend has claimed that Eric Dier is now battling John Stones for a place in England’s starting eleven at the World Cup.

Dier was recalled to the England squad for the Nations League clashes against Italy and Germany, on the back of his impressive form at club level.

The 28-year-old started both matches in the middle of the back three – the same position as the one he plays at Spurs under Antonio Conte.

With these games being the final two matches ahead of the World Cup, Gareth Southgate’s decision perhaps served as a hint that he sees the Tottenham man as a starter in Qatar.

Townsend has opined that the Tottenham man did his chances of being in the starting eleven no harm with his two displays over the international break.

However, the former Spurs winger suggested that Dier was competing with Stones as he expects Harry Maguire to keep his place in the side.

When asked about Dier’s displays, the Everton winger told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport (26/09/22): “I think he has staked a claim to start in that first game at the World Cup. I thought Walker, Maguire and Stones were nailed on and that was the back three.

“But seeing Dier’s performance, he was very assured. He was a leader. He was trying to break lines and play forward. I think he’s moved ahead of one or two.

“I think Stones’ place is under threat. There was a lot of noise about Maguire, but I think he will start. I just feel Dier will be fighting Stones for that last centre-back spot.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I believe Southgate showed his hand by dropping Walker for the clash against Germany. I believe that with everyone fit, his preferred back three at the moment is Maguire, Dier and Stones. 

I agree with Townsend that despite the criticism Maguire has come under, I do not see Southgate replacing him at left centre-back, particularly since he did not give an opportunity to either Guehi or Tomori in two matches.

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