Gabriel Agbonlahor has claimed that Eric Dier is exactly the sort of centre-back he loved to play against due to the Tottenham man’s lack of pace.
Dier’s transition from defensive midfield to centre-back has not gone as smoothly as he would have hoped.
It seemed at the start of the season as if the England international was getting used to his new position after it looked like his partnership with Toby Alderweireld had the makings of a solid pairing.
However, mistakes have since started to creep into the 26-year-old’s game and he has found himself falling down the pecking order over recent weeks.
Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez have been in very good form recently, with Tottenham conceding just once in the last three Premier League games that the Colombian and Belgian have started together.
The former Aston Villa player revealed that he is not surprised at Dier’s current predicament, revealing that he never rated him as a centre-back.
When asked if the former Sporting Lisbon man could find himself frozen out like Dele Alli was in the first few months of the season, the former Aston Villa striker told Football Insider: “I actually do, to be honest. I’ve never really rated Eric Dier as a centre-half.
“I look at him and he’s the perfect centre-half I would have loved to have played against. You can get in the channels, get in behind him – he hasn’t got the pace.
“He’s decent on the ball but he hasn’t got the pace. Sanchez has got the pace but he’s not as good as the ball but you’d rather sacrifice being good on the ball.
“You’re biggest attribute as a defender now is you’ve got to be able to run and match the quick strikers in the Premier League and Europe. Alderweireld as well is more of an all-round defender than Dier.
“I think Dier, I’d play him as a defensive midfielder in the big games. But I think it will be a spell on the sidelines, which is needed. You can’t keep changing partnerships.
“Mourinho used to play Ricardo Carvalho and John Terry at Chelsea. He didn’t bring in other defenders. Centre-halves need that partnership.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Dier cannot have any complaints about being benched over the past few weeks as Sanchez and Alderweireld certainly deserve to play due to their recent form. However, Dier’s biggest issue is not his lack of pace. It is his tendency to lose concentration.
In fact, I believe that the 26-year-old is actually much quicker than he gets credit for. Because of his running style, people perceive him to be slower than he is but he is a powerful runner when he gets going. In fact, I believe Dier is much quicker than Alderweireld and he would actually push Sanchez close in a 50-meter race.
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