First thing’s first, the match against the MLS All-Stars was a match against the MLS All-Stars and there was no true insight on what worked and what didn’t. However, one idea that was thought provoking was playing Eric Dier in the Defensive Midfield role alongside Nabil Bentaleb. If I recall, it was done once last season and I thought nothing of it, but have to admit; I was unaware that Eric Dier would seem as comfortable as he was in his time on the pitch in Colorado. He seemed very comfortable both on and off the ball as well as very defensively sound. At times last season, Dier seemed a bit shaky at the back, which can most likely be attributed to his inexperience at the top level. However, having him in the middle of the park with Bentaleb could see his defensive mistakes non-existent and become more frequently featured in that role especially if James McCarthy isn’t purchased.
Having Dier in that role could also free up Nabil Bentaleb to become even more of a ball distributer and see a slightly more attacking role in the side. Since Dier is a natural defender, he will most likely see little to no action on the attack in his Defensive Midfield role. The more impact that Bentaleb can have on the attacking front will only make things better for Spurs going forward.
Of course there is also Ryan Mason who is the preferred choice to play in the middle of the park next to Bentaleb. However, as we have seen in the current squad, position battles seem to bring out the best in some players. The idea of having a natural defender to support the back four could help Spurs who without a doubt struggled keeping the ball out of the net last season. For players like Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier who are more attack minded Right-Backs. They would have more confidence getting up the pitch knowing there is a good defender behind them if they get caught out.
Eric Dier with his good performance has also made himself a more valuable member of the squad. He now is a valid choice for three positions on the pitch: Right-Back, Center-Back, and Defensive midfielder. If anyone were to get injured in those positions, Pochettino would have no problem putting Dier in as a replacement. Of course, as stated previously, tonight was the first time we saw Eric Dier in the Defensive Midfield role. In the final two friendlies of the preseason against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich/AC Milan, if Pochettino plays Dier in the same position, perhaps it will be the true tell whether or not he will be considered to play the Defensive Midfield role. Either way, Eric Dier looked a natural Defensive Midfielder in the match against the MLS All-Stars.
Have something to tell us about this article?