Tottenham’s Eric Dier has been rewarded for some impressive displays this season with a call up to the senior England squad for the first time. The uncapped 21-year-old has been one of Spurs standout performers this term, playing in all but one of the London club’s Premier League games, and he’s now been named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the testing upcoming friendlies against Spain and France.
Dier’s 19-year-old Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli has been retained after playing his first two games for England in last month’s Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.
However, there is no place in the 23-man squad for Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, who continues to be troubled by a knee injury. Jack Grealish has not been included either as he is still waiting to receive international clearance from FIFA after switching his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England.
There are 13 squad regulars out injured, including the likes of Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Jordan Henderson, Luke Shaw and Jack Wilshere. Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph has been recalled after he recovered from a hamstring injury and Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy is one of three strikers, along with Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane named in the senior squad.
But it is Dier’s call-up that is the most striking news from Thursday’s squad announcement. Dier moved to Portugal at the age of seven and started playing for Sporting Lisbon’s youth team after being spotted by scouts. The 21-year-old remained at the Portuguese club until the summer of 2014 when Spurs signed him for £4 million.
Dier has international pedigree after playing nine times for the England Under-21s. However, in November last year he decided not to play for Gareth Southgate’s team against Portugal and France after he said he wanted to go back to Tottenham to work on his game as a centre-half, rather than play at right-back. This season, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has utlised Dier as a holding midfielder in a role in which he has excelled.
England manager Roy Hodgson said of Dier: “He’s done very well. Obviously it’s a position in the centre of midfield where we wanted someone of a more defensive bent and there are not a lot of those players available to us. We are much more blessed in terms of forward players or attack-minded players but this is a good opportunity for him. Having seen what he can do for Tottenham we can see what he can do for us.”
After an extremely impressive start to his Premier League career and with him now set for an England debut, Dier will be hoping that it will be the start of a long and fruitful international career. You can follow his journey by purchasing Dier ‘futures’ now on Football INDEX for just £1.09 to profit from his future success.