Eric Dier's experience in Portugal could be vital in England's knockout matches

England's Eric Dier in action with Slovakia's Juraj Kucka

Tottenham's young anchorman has something to offer no other member of the England squad can.

England's Eric Dier celebrates after scoring their first goalEngland's Eric Dier celebrates after scoring

Spurs and England star Eric Dier told the FA website that he would be coming up against a clutch of familiar players if one of the possible draws for the next round of the European Championships comes to fruition later on Wednesday.

The Tottenham defensive midfielder has been something of a revelation in France this summer, widely thought of as one of England's real positives with Roy Hodgson's side slipping to a disappointing second position in Group B.

Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier and Nacer Chadli celebrates after Fiorentina's Gonzalo Rodriguez scored an own goal and the third goal for TottenhamKieran Trippier, Eric Dier and Nacer Chadli celebrates after Fiorentina's Gonzalo Rodriguez scored an own goal and the third goal for Tottenham

What their final group stage position means is that England are set to face the runner-up in Group F, which could be any one of Hungary, Iceland, Austria or Dier's former country Portugal, with fixtures kicking off at 5pm UK time on Wednesday.

And though Dier may look forward to the possibility of facing Portugal in the last-16 match or elsewhere in the tournament if Cristiano Ronaldo and co qualify in another position, it is clear his continental style deep-lying playmaker slash anchorman role is important to England's success whoever they face.

The 22-year-old emerged from the Portuguese youth system having moved there as a child, spending nine years at Sporting and going on to make 31 appearances at the Lisbon giants, as both a defender and a midfielder, before moving to Spurs in 2014.

"We’ll wait and see who we get in the last-16, but we should not fear anyone,” Dier told the FA website.

"I grew up with quite a few of their squad," he said regarding the Portugal players.

"There is William Carvalho, Joao Mario, Rui Patricio the goalkeeper, who I played with a lot at Sporting, and Adrien Silva.

England's Eric Dier in action with Portugal's Rafa SilvaEngland's Eric Dier in action with Portugal's Rafa Silva

"Plus, I played a few times against Andre Gomes in the youth teams. So I do know quite a few of them."

"There are players I looked up to from a young age and of course there are ones I look at and think I can learn from."

Of course, if England do draw Portugal, it'll come just a few weeks after beating them in a friendly at Wembley. But Dier's experience with their players will once again make him doubly vital, though as the only player in the squad to spend significant time playing outside of the UK, it is perhaps no surprise that he has taken to international football so confidently.

Whoever England play, Dier's knowledge of playing continental football is something that should be welcomed, and his input encouraged when the Spurs man takes to the field for his country.

England's Eric Dier and Joe HartEngland's Eric Dier and Joe Hart

 

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