As the European football season is in the process of kicking off, this weekend saw the English Premiership renew acquaintances with our television screens, mobile phones, and computers. As we get into the season, we want to profile some younger up and coming players who you might have only heard of in passing. We’re going to kick off with Eric Dier, a player who I’ve been quite bullish on to anyone who will listen to me; and a player who made quite the impact in his Tottenham Hotspurs debut.
Born in 1994 in Cheltenham, England; Dier is one of those curious cases of being an English player who was entirely developed in a foreign country (hence why I’ve been so bullish on him) having moved to Lisbon with his family at the age of 9 and been recruited into the Sporting Lisbon youth system, which of course is a system famed for nurturing a young Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Learning his craft in Portugal, Dier has an ingrained comfort on the ball, it’s a trait which often is lacking among defenders who are English in nationality. It’s this comfort on the ball which also saw Dier take up spots on the right side of Sporting’s defense (much like his shift on the weekend for Spurs after the Kyle Naughton sending off) and also just in front of the back four in a defensive midfielder role. Dier’s skill set also caught the eyes of Manchester based football tailors Umbro, and the England youth international was actually the first professional player to turn out in the new UX-1, towards the tail end of last season.
[See: Umbro UX-1 Review]
His performances at Sporting, caught the eyes of clubs in England, however, it was incoming Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino who landed Dier for what honestly can be considered a steal at only £4million. Given Pochettino’s work with the young players at Southampton, I think that Spurs suits Dier’s development to the ground as Pochettino isn’t scared to let a younger player get big minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dier potentially unseat Younes Kaboul to form a preferred centre back pairing with Jan Vertonghen sooner rather than later, especially if he pops up with match winning goals like he did the weekend.