Eric Dier has revealed that when he missed out on the England squad in the summer, Antonio Conte told him that he had to play even better to get back in.

Dier returned to the England squad for September’s Nations League fixtures after having spent nearly two years out of the squad.

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The Tottenham man has made the 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar and will be hoping to play a key role for Gareth Southgate’s men.

The centre-back has Conte to thank for getting back into the Three Lions set up as his game has gone up a couple of notches since the Italian arrived through the door more than 12 months ago.

Dier has been guilty of making some unforced errors over recent weeks but overall, his performances in the middle of Spurs’ back three have been solid since the Italian took over from Nuno Espirito Santo. The 28-year-old has now opened up on how desperate he was to get back in the England squad.

Dier said in Saturday’s press conference (via England’s official channel): “Not being in the team for a while after the Euros was tough for me and I was extremely motivated to try and get back in. To try and be here at the World Cup.

“That was an objective of mine. But at the same time, I was just really trying to focus on Tottenham and playing well for Tottenham. Trying to improve myself individually. I knew I could only control the things that are controllable to me. Being fit. Playing well. I try to control those as best I could.

“We complicate things sometimes and it’s that simple really. Just to play well. I remember my club manager, at the beginning of the season, said to me, because I hadn’t been in the squad in the summer, he said ‘you have to play better’. And that’s what I tried to do.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I find it quite disappointing how some Spurs fans have jumped on Dier and labelled him useless as soon as he made a couple of mistakes following 12 to 18 months of consistent performances.

I believe that the 28-year-old is fully deserving of his place in the England squad and I expect him to start for the Three Lions if Southgate uses a back three rather than a back four.

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