‘I didn’t take him to be the character he was’ – Dier on former Spurs midfielder

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Eric Dier has revealed that playing behind closed doors against Croatia allowed him to see another side to former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Luka Modric.

A lot has been said and written on how playing behind closed doors might affect the players amid the coronavirus pandemic (BBC).

While some have opined that possession-based teams might have an advantage, others feel that counter-attacking sides will get the upper hand due to the lack of fans.

Dier is one of several Spurs stars who has experienced playing competitive matches behind closed doors.

The 26-year-old started for England alongside Harry Kane in a UEFA Nations League clash against Croatia back in October 2018 that was played behind closed doors due to UEFA’s disciplinary measures.

Dier admitted that the experience of playing without fans was quite strange but claimed that he was able to get a much better understanding of how different players operate.

He opened up on how his perception of Modric changed after he heard how demanding the Real Madrid star was of his teammates.

Speaking to Tottenham’s official website about the match in 2018, Dier said: “I found it quite interesting because, in my experience, while we were playing against Croatia – and obviously they were speaking Croatian – you could still tell a lot more about the players you were playing against.

“You get to understand different parts of their character because you can hear everything. Normally in that game environment, at times, you struggle to even hear your own team-mates, but then, you could hear everything being said.

“Take someone like Luka Modric – I didn’t take him to be the character he was when I was just watching, he was very vocal, very demanding of his team-mates. I’d played against him quite a few times and I never really had that feeling from him.

“However, playing in an empty stadium, I got that side of him. That really stood out to me. You can hear each other a lot better, which at times is helpful, but the sound of the ball and the sound of everyone moving around is quite strange.

“Obviously you want to play in full stadia, you want to feel and be part of the emotion of the crowd, that’s what makes playing for us so special. But there is always that intensity, drive and willingness to win. That’s always there, with or without fans. That will always exist.”

Spurs Web Opinion

One of the reasons I am not a fan of having fake fan noises during matches is because this is a unique opportunity for fans to be able to hear different players on the pitch during matches. It will also be interesting to see how vocal Jose and the rest of our coaching staff are during games.

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