£4 million is all that it cost Tottenham Hotspur to bring Eric Dier from Sporting CP. The young versatile defender has shown his worth this season but this success was hard to come by. The former Sporting defender has had to work hard and dig deep to make a name for himself in the Portuguese and English Premier league. The 22-year old English defender started his career in Portugal at the age of seven when his mother relocated his family after getting a contract to run the hospitality division for the 2004 European Championship. He started off in the Sporting Lisbon academy and made his way up the squad before making his first professional appearance for Sporting B on August 26th 2012 coming on as a substitute. On November 11th he was called to the first team claiming an assist in the only goal of the game against S.C Braga. Prior to his move to Tottenham Hotspur he had experienced the premier league with a loan move to Everton FC where he wanted to add an ‘English steel’ to his ‘Portuguese technique’. Dier’s baptism at the base of midfield was given to him by his former Sporting Lisbon coach Jesualdo Ferriera on 2nd March 2013 in one of the biggest matches in the Portuguese calendar – Porto v Sporting Lisbon.
Fast forward to the current 2015-2016 season – High flying Spurs have been chasing a first premier league title since the 1961 season, Eric Dier has become an undisputed starter and one of the breakthrough stars in a year full of exciting players. Mauricio Pochettino has converted Dier into one of the most composed, determined and tenacious defensive midfielders in the premier league. The manager was expected to bring in a new defensive enforcer to replace the faded likes of Benjamin Stambouli, Etienne Capoue and Paulinho who all failed to adapt to the rigorous tempo. Even with funds at his disposal Pochettino told chairman Daniel Levy that he wanted to convert Eric Dier into a defensive midfield lynchpin. He possesses a range of passing that can only be derived from hours of practice and precision and his ability to pick a pass from deep-lying position has been impressive, which stems from his Portuguese upbringing.
Tottenham Hotspur’s transitional play starts from back to front which starts from Eric Dier to Harry Kane, thus making him an essential cog in Pochettino’s well oiled machine. His stats compared to the leagues other enforcers is favourable – He has the most clearances and blocked shots showing his athletism, strength and defensive prowess. A stand out statistic is his 65 interceptions, which shows he has excelled in his new habitat compared to his seasoned counterparts. With no defensive errors and successfully completing 1246 passes, it is no wonder Pochettino values his decision making, whigh proves Dier is not just a sideways passer but promotes more positive football.
His relationship with Dele Alli at the heart of the Spurs midfield has been key. Their chemistry and synergy has been surprising considering their young age. Dele Alli bombs forward at every opportunity creating chances and scoring goals with Dier providing the balance and sweeping up behind him. The key is having that balance because as we have seen with teams such as Manchester City where Fernandinho and Fernando have both been tasked with protecting their defense and yet have leaked goals all season. Tottenham Hotspurs defensive record this season is testament to the midfields intention to put in a shift. Eric Dier has astonished everyone beyond expectation, following on from a steady debut season in defense, the change to midfield caught many by surprise but Pochettino’s gamble seems to have worked wonders. England and Spurs have their midfield established for years to come and in Eric Dier, England finally have a defensive-minded midfielder who’s first instinct is to protect his back four – A tenacious, strong athlete with unparalleled technique and composure, credit must go to Mauricio Pochettino who recognized the potential early on and helped developed him to become all rounded powerhouse in his midst and unleashed the Portuguese bred Englishman upon the world.