Dier is just one of the many youthful Spurs contingent taking the England team by storm, but for me, he may well be the most influential. The versatile defender has been a mainstay in Tottenham’s recent title charge, but his ability to break up play has led Mauricio Pochettino to mould him into one of the Leagues most tenacious holding midfielders. He has an eye for a crunching tackle (hence his nine yellow cards so far this season), whilst the form of fellow fledgling midfielder Dele Alli has in part come about as a result of Dier’s competence upon the ball- he has a passing accuracy of 82% only surpassed by midfield comrade Moussa Dembele, who has 90%.
When England travelled to Germany to face the World Cup holders inside Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Dier competently contained the creative visionaries of Mesut Ozil (who currently has the most assists in the Barclays Premier League) and Thomas Muller (who already has 28 goals and seven assists this season). With his magnanimous approach to the game, Dier was successful in freeing up the explosive attacking exploits of Dele Alli upon Germany’s fragile back-line. The tactic began to pay dividends once Harry Kane had pulled a goal back through a Cruyff-esque turn and finish past the sprawling Manuel Neuer.
His bullet of a header in the dying embers of the game sent many a generation of intoxicated English fans into the raptures, and restored the belief that England may be building something special – in the form of an enthusiastic and youthful team. Despite having only been capped five times by England, the one question Roy Hodgson will be asking himself is who will partner Dier against Russia on the 11th of June – Henderson, Milner, Carrick or Drinkwater who has had a superb season with title-casing Leicester City?
Just three days later, his absence was unmistakeable as Holland grabbed a win at Wembley, which has been somewhat of a fortress over the past few seasons. James Milner and Danny Drinkwater (on his debut) proved ineffectual to the constant threats of Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum – who threatened to dismantle England’s fragile mindset on numerous occasions. Whilst their link up play was abject at best, England dropped deeper and deeper – into the monotonous rhythm that became synonymous under the reign of Italian Fabio Capello.
Eric Dier’s footballing education with Sporting Lisbon has set him apart from the likes of Milner and Drinkwater, because his first-rate English defending is counteracted by the cultivated Mediterranean passing that has dictated the style of so many of Europe’s top sides. He is therefore the perfect linchpin for an England side that has lacked such a player since the days of Paul Scholes and Bryan Robson.
Hopefully for the youngster he will be on the plane to France come summer and can put in some excellent performances for the national team. Should the team play to their full potential they should go far.