Former Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson has claimed that Eric Dier was harmed by his own versatility under Mauricio Pochettino.
Few people would have expected Dier to go on to become the key player that he has for Spurs when he arrived from Sporting Lisbon as a 20-year-old back in 2014.
After scoring a late winner on his Premier League debut at West Ham United, he sealed a place in the side and was used by Pochettino in a variety of roles in his first three seasons at the club including at right-back, centre back (both in a back four as well as a back three) and defensive midfield.
It was as a defensive midfielder that Dier arguably had the most success alongside Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele, which helped him seal a place in the England squad.
However, a series of injuries and illness saw him miss a huge chunk of the 2018/19 season and he struggled to win his place back in the side after recovering from his issues (Guardian).
The England international was reinstated back into the team when Jose Mourinho’s arrived at the club but he recently opened up on his intention to play as a centre-half rather than a midfielder (Evening Standard), something which reports suggest Mourinho is ready to do (Football Insider).
Robinson explained how the 26-year-old’s versatility often meant that he was the first person who was moved to accommodate others.
The former England number one told Football Insider: “He had a lack of game time under Pochettino and that has harmed his season.
“Also if anyone was going to get moved about it was Eric Dier due to his versatility but maybe that works to his detriment.
“As he gets older I see him more as a centre-half. I think Dier is best deployed in a back-three.
“There was a time under Pochettino where you thought he was going to be leaving because he was not even in the squad. I hope he can get back to that and kick on after the new contract.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Like Robinson, I too have always felt that Dier’s best position was as a centre-back in a back three. A lot of fans accuse him of not being good on the ball but that is a complete myth. He is extremely comfortable with the ball at his feet when he is playing at centre-back and has the game in front of him.
However, being asked to turn with a ball at his feet in midfield is a completely different skill set as it needs a level of positional awareness which doesn’t come naturally to Dier as he played centre-half through his youth career.
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