Noel Whelan has backed Eric Dier and Cristian Romero to form a strong defensive partnership at Tottenham and claims the pair can be the club’s heirs to Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. 

Centre-backs Dier and Romero have been in and out of the Spurs lineup this season with both having to battle their own respective injury problems. 

The former returned to the side to face Manchester City on Saturday and had an instant impact en route to a stunning 3-2 win for Antonio Conte’s men at the Etihad Stadium. 

Argentina international Romero also produced a confident display throughout, aside from giving away an unfortunate penalty for a handball in the penalty area. 

Former Premier League striker Whelan says both Dier and Romero could prove to be complementary under Conte and believes they have the ability to emulate the iconic partnership of Belgian duo Vertonghen and Alderweireld. 

Whelan told Football Insider: “We’ve seen a mixed bag from Eric Dier since he’s been playing that centre-half role. There has been inconsistency in his performances.

“But again, when the new manager comes in, trust, those leadership skills, a little bit more onus is on him to be that player. I think he has risen to the challenge.

“That’s brilliant because we know there’s a great player there in him. We always felt centre-back was his best position over that defensive midfield role.

“He’s really showing Antonio Conte and the fans just how important he has been this season at the back. Dier and [Cristian] Romero are the two best centre-halves that Tottenham have.

“They’ve got to give them time because they’ve been in and out of the game. They have not really had that growth in that partnership. Hopefully, touch wood, the two of them can grow that relationship at the heart of their defence.

“I think they can be the next Vertonghen and Alderweireld. You need that consistency of two players playing together.”

Spurs Web Opinion 

Vertonghen and Alderweireld was a partnership that present and future Tottenham defenders should aspire to form. Dier and Romero are both pretty good on the ball, but their styles of defending contrast which could make for a complementary pairing for Conte going forward. 

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