A closer look: Eric Dier and a case for the Tottenham defence

Tottenham WHL

Comparing Eric Dier at centre-back with Tottenham Hotspur's other defensive options.

For much of this season Eric Dier has played at right-back for Tottenham Hotspur in the league, but more recently he has been switched to a centre-back role, where it is likely that his future lies.

The England under-21 international impressed almost as soon as he arrived from Sporting Lisbon; scoring in consecutive matches against West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers. But how do his recent centre-back performances compare with those of fellow defenders Jan Vertonghen and Federico Fazio?

We have looked at Dier’s averages in a number of key areas against Sunderland, Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham, and compared them with his defensive colleagues' performances over the campaign to date.

  Passing AccuracyOutfields Blocks per GameTackles Won per GameDuels Won per GameAerials Won per GameInterceptions Won per GameEffective Clearances per GameEffective Headed Clearances per GameMins Played
Eric Dier 79% 0.75 0.75 3 2 2 4.5 3.25 360

As you can see, Dier's passing accuracy is less than that of both Vertonghen and Fazio, although not by much in the latter case. The Tottenham youngster's recent performances have however seen him accrue a better average than the Belgian international has for the season in terms of outfield blocks.

There is also little to choose when it comes to interceptions won per game when Dier is occupying a central area.

  Passing AccuracyOutfield Blocks per GameTackles Won per GameDuels Won per GameAerials Won per GameInterceptions Won per GameEffective Clearances per GameEffective Headed Clearances per GameMins Played
Jan Vertonghen 86% 0.68 1.23 4.77 2.23 2.05 6.45 3.59 1,910
Federico Fazio 81% 1.31 1.23 7.85 5.31 2.92 8.69 6.38 1,147

In time Dier looks set to blossom into a wonderful centre-back and it is no surprise that his recent averages are lower than his more experienced teammates over the season.

Dier's key area of strength is his speed and that is where he stands out from Fazio in particular. In the 21-year-old, Tottenham have a player who is not only growing into a wonderful player, but one who also has the pace to make up for any mistakes he may initially make.

In time, that could be the difference that makes him one of Tottenham's best defensive options for quite some time.

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