Tottenham defender-cum-midfielder Eric Dier was his side’s standout player for long periods during their somewhat disappointing 2-2 Premier League home draw with Stoke City on Saturday afternoon.
The young England star started the encounter alongside Ryan Mason in midfield, taking the place of Nabil Bentaleb who missed out following a poor display at Manchester United last weekend.
Dier, predominantly a centre-back, has become Spurs’ utility man over the past 15 months, often finding himself playing right-back last season due to the absence of Kyle Walker through injury.
Capable of putting in a tackle and moving freely with the ball, Dier has the attributes to play as a holding midfielder and he performed his duties to a good standard against Stoke.
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As Opta stats show, the 21-year-old proved to be reliable in possession and surprisingly offered more than his midfield partner Mason in an attacking sense. Aside from his first-half headed goal from a corner, Dier also contributed with two chances created via key passes and recorded a total of 50 accurate passes over the 90 minutes.
Moreover, he excelled at his natural defensive game with two interceptions, three aerial winners and an impressive seven duel winners in the middle of the park.
Spurs’ two-goal capitulation can be attributed to the lack of passing options in the final third once Harry Kane went off, rather than the inability to stop Stoke’s late pressure mounting from midfield. Dier’s performance leaves boss Mauricio Pochettino with a bit of a conundrum for next weekend’s trip to Leicester City, with the versatile star doing more than enough to keep his place in the team.