Jose Mourinho preferred the England international to play out from the back against Wolves.
Jose Mourinho went with a three-man defence once again for Tottenham yesterday as they were beaten 3-2 at home to Wolves, but it did not contain Toby Alderweireld or Jan Vertonghen.
Eric Dier, 26, was preferred at the heart of a back three and as per Football.London, Mourinho explained his decision after the match.
He said: “Eric played very well. The thinking was Davinson [Sanchez] and [Japhet] Tanganga are the two fastest central defenders that we have. Eric is the one who by nature is a midfield player so playing in the middle between those centre backs is the one who is normally more comfortable to step up, he’s more comfortable with reading the game and passing.
“They played well, especially Eric was very, very good and sometimes you concede goals and you blame goalkeepers and defenders. Other times you concede goals and it is a global situation and I think it was when it comes from a transition. Sometimes when it comes from behind midfield I think it’s not about them.”
A role at the heart of a back three, with pace on both sides and time to bring the ball out from the back seems perfect on paper for Alderweireld.
The pace around him would help allay fears over his aging legs and his raking passes and confidence on the ball have been a feature of Tottenham’s play for years, since he joined for £11 million (Guardian) in 2015.
It should concern Alderweireld that Dier, who, despite the fact he plays in midfield is ponderous and not the most adventurous passer is viewed as a better ball-playing centre half than him by Mourinho.
Alderweireld committed his future to Tottenham under Mourinho, and the Portuguese is a manager generally unworried about playing older players in a footballing era where young players are generally in vogue.
But now he is not viewed as a superior option in a role which appears tailor-made for him than a man who has spent years playing in midfield, which should worry the Belgian regarding his gametime.