Eric Dier is determined to develop into a central defender, but he is Tottenham’s best full-back.
The 21-year-old pulled out of Southgate’s England youth squad to focus upon his training, and, as a naturalised centre-half, it is expected that Dier will be the long-term fix in the central positions for Spurs.
However, the youngster keeps putting in top class performances at full-back, and it is hard to deny that he is currently Tottenham’s best option in the right-back position.
In his most recent appearance as a full-back, Dier put in a great performance. Up against Southampton, whilst the rest of his back-line struggled, Dier was an efficient attacking and defensive force.
He won four aerial duels and one tackle, and playing as a high-pressing full-back, he is a reliable presence with his ability as a centre-half. He does not posses the same lack of ability to read the game that Kyle Walker and Danny Rose do, and a simple understanding of defensive positioning goes a long way as a full-back.
|Match||Tackles||Aerial Duels Won|
|Eric Dier||Southampton vs Tottenham||1||4|
Yet, it was not just his ability from a defensive standpoint that shows his promise in Mauricio Pochettino’s system, as the Argentine coach demands his full-backs to press on and aid in the final third.
The attacking play of his current options is the one area that the likes of Walker and Rose are frequently praised in. They are both pacy and able to deliver good crosses, but they are still fairly inconsistent with the frequency of their final ball.
This is another area in which Dier proved himself in the 2-2 draw with Southampton, as, despite being a natural central defender, his usage of the ball is fantastic. He possesses an ability on the ball that many of his English defensive contemporaries lack, and whether that is down to natural ability or his training in Portugal remains to be seen.
Regardless, he played five crosses, registering one assist with a lovely ball into the area for Erik Lamela, and showed his natural ability as both a defensive and attacking wide-man.
Dier may believe his future rests in the centre of defence, but on current form, he is proving himself as Tottenham’s best full-back, and it is hard to see why Pochettino would change his position when his performances in that position rank as some of his best in a Spurs shirt.