Merson claims Tottenham star Eric Dier could be England’s weakness this summer

Eric Dier crossbar.

Paul Merson has questioned England boss Roy Hodgson's decision to take only three centre-backs.

Former player Paul Merson feels Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier could be a weakness for England this summer if he is forced to drop back into a centre-back role, the Daily Star reports.

England boss Roy Hodgson has named his preliminary squad ahead of the summer and arguably the biggest debate revolves around his decision to name just three natural centre-backs.

Chris Smalling, John Stones and Gary Cahill are expectedly there but Hodgson has surprisingly left it at that, seemingly with the idea that Tottenham’s Dier can cover that role in the event of injury or suspension.

Merson, though, feels it’s a huge risk as he doesn’t see the Spurs man as a natural centre-back.

“No disrespect to Eric Dier, he’s a good player. But he’s a holding midfielder. Say we play Portugal in one of the knockout rounds, and Dier has to play centre-half. You watch where Cristiano Ronaldo plays,” Merson wrote for the Daily Star.

“He won’t be playing on the wing. He’ll be up front and going against Dier every single chance he gets. Teams will see it as a weakness.”

“I hope it isn’t, but that decision could be the difference between England doing something or coming home early again. It’s ridiculous.”

Dier arrived at Tottenham as a versatile player, and featured towards the back-end of the 2014/15 campaign at right-back in place of Kyle Walker who was suffering from a lengthy injury.

The former Sporting Lisbon man has undoubtedly improved as a player during his time at White Hart Lane, though questions remain over his ability at centre-back amid a lack of experience there.

There is logic behind Hodgson’s reason for trusting Dier to do a job in defence, though arguably most England supporters will be hopeful a situation doesn’t arise where he is forced to play there.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch