It feels like it has been years since Spurs fans have sung “I love Eric Dier, Eric Dier Loves me.”
The former Sporting man burst onto the scene, scoring on his competitive debut against West Ham, while endearing himself to Tottenham supporters everywhere for his work rate and ability to get stuck in a challenge.
There is no doubt that on his day, Eric Dier was a player that opponents feared. However, it has been a few seasons since we have seen the best version of Dier, which has caused many critics to vocalise their displeasure with the centre-back and his performances.
In the midst of an inevitable rebuild, this begs the question, should Tottenham cash in on a successful investment and accept a transfer for the player this summer?
I personally believe that we should keep him for this upcoming season, as he has the flexibility to play multiple roles on the pitch, brings unique characteristics, does the dirty work and offers unmatched passion on and off the pitch that make him a vital player in this upcoming rebuild.
One reason I believe that we should keep Dier around in the midst of a rebuild is because of his flexibility in formations.
Under Pochettino, Dier thrived in the holding midfield role or as a third centre-back. In emergency situations, he even played as a right-back. This flexibility is invaluable, especially for a team that lacks depth at centre-back and defensive midfield.
Critics will rightfully say that he did not cover himself in glory this past year in the centre-back role. While I agree, I argue that any player not named Son, Kane or Hojbjerg would find it very tough to take positives away from this season.
Also, let’s not forget that Dier had a great first half of the season. It was after the away defeat to Liverpool that Dier, along with most of the team, collapsed.
Plus, even with this collapse as a team, we still had the 6th best defensive record and a large part of that is due to Dier’s consistent performances in the first half of the season.
He remained consistent even when Jose would change his centre-back partner regularly. Should Dier be an automatic starter next season? No. However, his flexibility coupled with his team-friendly contract, make him a nice option to have on the bench.
Another reason why I believe Dier should stay with Tottenham in the new season is his unique characteristics as a player that can get stuck into challenges.
This fight is important because these players are extremely difficult and expensive to find on the transfer market and having that option off your bench allows players like Son, Kane and Bale to create while Dier does the dirty work.
There is no better example of Eric Dier’s ruthless nature on the pitch than the Battle of the Bridge. In that game, it felt as though there wasn’t a Chelsea player on the pitch that didn’t get taken down by Dier.
The ability to get into an opponent’s head either via a physical challenge or tough play is a unique skill set that not many current players possess.
Trying to find this type of player on the transfer market, in the middle of a rebuild, would be an unnecessary cost with money that could be spent elsewhere.
The final reason as to why I think that Eric Dier should be in Tottenham’s squad this upcoming season is because of his passion for the game and the club.
There isn’t a better example of this than after our cup final loss to Man City this past season. In his interview, you felt the passion and disappointment he felt by losing the cup final in the 82nd minute.
“It has to drive you on,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, this one is very tough because as you said seven years and not to have a trophy hurts me deeply. You’ve got to go again, you know. It’s tough.”
In fact, after his media interviews, he was the only player to stay on the pitch (picture credit James Olley), just looking at the goal where Tottenham conceded. This is the passion that this team needs.
Right now, we are missing players who have that desire to win as much as Dier. Contrast that to a player like Ndombele, who after the Aston Villa match, was caught laughing post-game or how our captain Hugo and Aurier were caught laughing on the pitch after a draw to Everton.
Our own captain was laughing it up in a must-win game. This is not the mentality we need to compete for trophies. What Dier lacks in ability he brings in passion.
Call me crazy, but I would rather have a passionate Eric Dier on my team any day over a player who laughs in defeat.
In saying all of this, I fully understand that Eric Dier is not the most technically gifted player. In fact, Dier can sometimes become a liability and because of this, I know that most fans want him gone this summer.
However, we are not Man City, Chelsea or United and we do not have endless cash flow to replace players. In a time of a necessary rebuild, you need a player that has the same passion for winning as the fans.
While his critics have rightfully called out his development as a player and continually point out his lapse in concentration in defence, he still has enough talent to play a vital supporting role moving forward.
Instead of being over critical of every performance he has, we should embrace the passion he has for the club and the game and use that to move the team forward during this inevitable rebuild.
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