Eric Dier has had an excellent start to the season and has become a mainstay at the heart of the defence for Tottenham.
There were plenty of doubts being raised until a few weeks ago if the 26-year-old had the attributes to play in central defence but the England international seems to have silenced his critics with his recent displays.
Tottenham have conceded just one goal in their last five league games, with Dier’s excellent form being one of the main factors behind the Lilywhites’ improved defensive showing.
The former Sporting Lisbon man admitted that he had decided to move permanently to centre back even before Jose Mourinho arrived at the club and that the Portuguese coach challenged him to prove himself in that position after Tottenham’s defeat to Chelsea last season.
Dier told Sky Sports: “It was something we spoke about (when Jose Mourinho arrived). It was a decision I actually made before the manager arrived here.
“It was something on my mind for a while and I spoke with Pochettino over various seasons. I felt the time was right in terms of my age, in terms of what I did and my career.
“I felt I needed to make that commitment and move forward, I had the conversation with the manager when he arrived and he respected that.
“He said ‘It’s up to you’. After the Chelsea game last season where we lost, he said ‘Now is your chance and you need to show me now’. I’m grateful for the opportunity to prove myself there. It is where I feel most confident.”
Like Mourinho, Dier played down the fact that Tottenham are currently sitting at the top of the table and insisted that there are many aspects the team can still improve on.
He added: “We know there is a lot of work to do, there is a lot we need to improve on.
“We need to keep moving in this direction we are going in and also understand there are going to be difficult times and be ready to handle those situations.
“It’s easy when things are going well but when things take a turn for the worse, we need to be ready to handle those situations. It only really matters who is first in May.”
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