Inside Lane: Why suspended Eric Dier will be missed as Spurs prepare to face Liverpool
Tottenham blogger James Harris says Eric Dier has become a difficult man to replace after quickly becoming an effective defensive midfielder this season.
It’s the black boots. Ironically, for someone so unassuming, so free of fuss, it’s those black boots that make Eric Dier stand out.
But then, he’s always been a bit different – an Englishman brought up in a foreign country, so unfamiliar with his nation of origin that he thought daylight saving time was a joke when the concept was explained to him.
A young, almost unknown centre-back drafted in as an emergency right-back weeks after his arrival at Tottenham last year, now a fully-converted defensive midfielder – he’s not made it the simple way.
Yet, on the pitch, it’s the simple things Dier excels at – it’s why he has so brilliantly adapted to his new position. At the start of the season, Spurs had what was seemingly a midfield crisis on their hands. With no alternative to give the defence some much-needed cover, Dier was ostensibly rushed into an unfamiliar position.
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Those who watched in pre-season and at Old Trafford became perturbed; the 21-year-old looked like a boy in uncharted water – awkward, slow and worryingly clumsy. Yet, given time and experience, little though it has been, Dier has rapidly developed into an essential cog in Mauricio Pochettino’s machine.
He now shows an impressively cool head on young shoulders and his decision-making has become quick and efficient. Whether it has been by luck or design, Dier has been developing into the midfielder Spurs were crying out for last season.
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It’s astonishing how far the young, quiet man has come in such a short space of time. He still toils under the radar, yet to be recognised by Roy Hodgson despite performing just as impressively as his teenage midfield partner, Dele Alli. Despite this, he has become indispensable at Spurs and his talents have most certainly not been overlooked by those in and around White Hart Lane.
Pochettino and his staff now face a difficult task then, ahead of Saturday’s match at home against Liverpool.
Spurs have leaked goals in abundance to the Merseyside club in the last few years and now find themselves without their deep-lying shield following his fifth yellow card in the last game at Swansea, which has triggered a one-match suspension.
The situation has revealed one weakness of Dier’s burgeoning midfield career – discipline – and it also gives the coaching team a dilemma; how to fill the void.
Perhaps it is the lack of recognition from international managers and the lack of opportunity in his favoured position that gives Dier his unrelenting drive. Whatever it is, Spurs now have a man who has become very difficult to replace.
Follow me on Twitter @JamesCHarris97