Tottenham Hotspur defender Eric Dier has told The Independent that his decision to snub the England Under-21s in November has been justified.
The 21-year-old caused quite a stir in mid-November when he declined the offer to join up with the England U21 squad for friendly matches against Portugal and France.
England U21 coach Gareth Southgate told BBC Sport at the time that Dier “feels there are parts of his game that he wants to work at”.
Dier believes that his decision to remain at Tottenham during that period and work on his game has paid dividends.
“I think it has been proved that it (the decision in November) worked out right for me,” the former Sporting Lisbon star told The Independent. “Obviously I wasn’t saying ‘no’ to my country. People get all dramatic about it.
“I wasn’t really playing at the time for England Under-21s but I had been playing a lot here and my form was starting to dip. I spoke to Gareth and I asked to stay here because I felt I needed two weeks at the club.
“I was travelling with England but I wasn’t really playing. I felt like it was a better choice for me and I think I have proved it was. I know what I want to do.”
Dier, who can play both as a centre-back and as a right-back, subsequently recovered his form and made himself an important player in Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
In 26 Premier League appearances this season, the youngster has scored two goals and created 11 chances, while having a pass accuracy of 79% and a shot accuracy of 40%.
The Englishman has won 58 headers, 21 dribbles and 37 tackles, and has committed 30 fouls.
Tottenham are currently sixth in the Premier League table with 58 points from 36 matches, four points behind fifth-placed Liverpool.