Pochettino discusses Eric Dier’s move into Tottenham midfield

Mauricio Pochettino says he has been impressed by Eric Dier’s rapid development as a holding midfielder after throwing the 21-year-old into the role in pre-season.

Spurs sold a number of middle men in the summer while failing to sign any - and with Ryan Mason injured, the head coach was forced to look at other options in the Lilywhites’ friendly games.

Dier, who played as a centre-back and a reserve right-back last season, has quickly grown into the role and is the only Tottenham player to start all eight games so far this campaign.

“I am not surprised [about his performances] because he has the quality, the profile, to play in different positions,” said Pochettino. “In the beginning of pre-season we started to prove him in this situation and he was very good in training, he adapted his game very well as a central midfielder.

“He started to play games there in pre-season and we started to realise his performances were good and I decided to select him for that position.”

Asked if Dier would have got his chance in the role if Mason had been fit during pre-season, Pochettino said: “You never know, but it was a very good opportunity to throw him into that situation and I am very happy because he has developed his game as a holding midfielder in a very good way.

“He can play as a holding midfielder or centre-back – both positions. They are his best positions.”

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On the other hand another young Spurs player, 22-year-old Alex Pritchard, has been unable to make an impression – apart from a brief substitute appearance against Everton - as he continues to struggle with the ankle injury he sustained while representing England at the European Under-21 Championship in June.

“It is difficult because he arrived in the summer. Now with the injury it has been difficult for him to have an opportunity for weeks and weeks and weeks to show his quality,” said Pochettino.

“For that, we are a little bit sad, not worried, because it will take more time for him to show tomorrow. He is close, but he is struggling to maintain his levels throughout the week because of his ankle.”

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