Former Tottenham Hotspur star Garth Crooks has named Eric Dier and Dejan Kulusevski in his first Premier League Team of the Week.
Crooks challenged Eric Dier to maintain consistency in his performances this season, after the centre-back helped Tottenham to a 4-1 win against Southampton in the opening match of the Premier League campaign.
He got himself on the scoresheet at the half-hour mark by guiding a cross from Son Heung-Min with an excellent near post header past Gavin Bazunu in goal.
Dier gave Spurs the 2-1 lead on the day, although the defender and his teammates failed to keep a clean sheet, with James Ward-Prowse breaking the deadlock for the visitors.
Crooks stated that the centre-back has not looked this comfortable in a Spurs shirt for a long time, but he believes the England international needs to maintain such form if the North Londoners want to finish in the top four places again.
Speaking to BBC Sport, Crooks said: “Dier scored his first goal in three years and seems more comfortable in a Tottenham shirt than I’ve seen for some time.
“He has never been in the same class as Virgil van Dijk, Ruben Dias or Antonio Rudiger. However, if Spurs are going to be serious about challenging for top spot, then Dier is going to have to produce some pretty spectacular performances this season.”
Crooks also named Kulusevski in the front line of his team of the week, after the Swede assisted Sessegnon’s equaliser with a perfect cross, before putting the icing on the cake by scoring Tottenham’s fourth on the day.
Crooks said: “What a brilliant acquisition by Antonio Conte to bring Kulusevski to Spurs.
“This player has been a revelation since he arrived from Juventus in January, scoring five times and providing eight assists last term.
“And he continued in that vein, setting up Ryan Sessegnon’s opener and then scoring himself as Tottenham blew Southampton off the park.
“However, the issue for Tottenham is can they win a trophy? Any trophy? This club seems to have lots of legends, but very few who have ever won anything. This squad of players would do very well not to join that category.”
Spurs Web Opinion:
Like Crooks has mentioned, Dier is simply not at the same level when compared to Liverpool ace Virgil van Dijk, for example. However, the Spurs centre-half can still significantly impact the team under the right system.
That seems to be happening at N17 after Antonio Conte gave Dier a sweeper role in his defensive set-up. With Cristian Romero and Ben Davies shuttling out wide, the Englishman covers those spaces behind his central defensive teammates.
This role plays to Dier’s strengths as the 28-year-old does not get dragged out wide and is not forced to cover large areas on the pitch.
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