Date: 15th November 2017 at 4:21pm
Written by:

Someone Tell Him. Now.

It`s never nice when you`re blissful ignorance is burst, you know, when someone tells you what to everyone else is bleeding obvious. Just as bad is when some smart-aleck ( normally just after you`ve bought the latest and greatest and proudly telling the story of the magnificent research and purchasing guile you displayed as you beat the salesperson into submission and left him or her a quivering wreck) then says “if you`d only let me know, I could have got you 30% off, could have saved you a fortune!”.

In those instances, in my non-pc World, I`d give my mate (it`s always a mate) a damn good slap, or use very harsh hurtful words, you now the sort, the sort that wouldn`t get past the site sensor at Vital Spurs, err I mean Owner.

If you`re not of the slapping generation, you have my sympathies, there is nothing quite as satisfying as giving a smug so and so a really good stinging slap, or a playful dead leg or arm. There are even (rare of course) occasions when you unknowingly persist in acting like a complete irritating dick; then a reciprocal but much needed infliction of pain can be fully warranted and should be endured with good grace – you just know you deserved that.

Eric Dier needs his best mate, his advisor or even his Dad to give him a reality check and a really good slap. The sort you don`t quite know why you deserve, but quickly realise there must be a damned good reason. It makes you stop and consider your thinking and your behavior.

Unless someone gives him a good metaphorical slap soon, his true potential will just slip away, another much longer period on the bench may be beckoning. He is far better than that.

When we got him, I quickly regaled other Spurs nuts on the player we`d bought, as I`d had the luck to watch him twice in Portugal in their development squad and was originally pointed at him by a couple of Portuguese colleges who asked me if I`d seen this English lad they had – who they all thought was going to be a top class player.

We joked about how the only way to get English players into Europe was if we already lived there. Pithy, painful and spot on it felt at the time.

The problem is Eric believes he can become one of the best Holding Midfielders in the business, his Manager and a very big chunk of me and anyone whose opinion is worth listening to in football also tend to think he`s got this all wrong; Poch believes his true future lays at the heart of defence, as Poch says he can become the best English Centre Back in the Premier League .

When I read the difference of opinion in the book, I was concerned. It was a clear difference of opinion that may well have had a real impact on our acquisition plans and that makes me feel decidedly uneasy.

There are key passages in this book that are gradually building in my mind to the conclusion that this book really wasn’t a good idea after all – but more of that later when I finally get about to finishing what I think will be a mixed review.

The question is what should be Dier’s focus, his ambition, his burning desire, should it be the best of his English peers in the CB role in the Premier League or should he persist with being a good/above average holding midfield player, but perhaps not a great one?

Eric works for Spurs because we have creative players that will balance out his backwards, sideways passing or even his infuriating ability to pass the ball to absolutely no one or the touchline, I know its not all his fault, possession based football demands control of the ball and that can`t always be forwards, pulling the opposition out of shape can at times me a tedious affair with unambitious moves demanded. But his ‘giveaways’ can test the patience of a Saint at times.

Both he and Poch surely must know that even holding midfielders have got to do more than press, close down, tackle and pass backwards and sideways?

Winks has shown us that you can shield the ball under pressure you can time a tackle and positively recycle the ball and even develop an attack if you’re quick enough, but you do it by not having your back to the opposition goal and look to make another slow safe pass.

It doesn`t mean he cant be positive and pass incisively but bhe needs to work on it and work on it hard., these things just never seems to make them a natural part of his game. Much the same can be said for knowing when to sit and when to run beyond the oppositions midfield to cause them to worry about your movement and pull them out of shape.

Of course, this dilemma is not really Eric`s fault, we bought him as a Centre Back and then injuries demanded we ask him to ‘do a job`, his versatility and of course his calm and composure on the ball, got most agreeing he could pull it off, and as far as I`m concerned he really did.

But he`s got real competition for that starting berth now in Victor (ok he’s injured but that won’t last forever) or even Winks, although there will be many who think that Winks is too lightweight to play as a defensive minded midfielder, I don’t. Dier has been labelled a versatile or even worse, a utility player.

Versatility is what helped undo AVB; he tried to pretend it was a virtue in his acquisitions. We ended up with an average or slightly above average hand of utility players that never quite worked. I cannot think of a worse curse on a player than exclaiming his ‘versatility`, for me it`s akin to endlessly listening to Gary Lineker trying to be clever when he said “There is no in between – you`re either good or bad. We were in between” – what a genius.

Dier just doesn`t cut it for me, his two recent England performances can be praised for his composure and his leadership and it`s not his fault that Southgate chooses to go with two holding midfielders which belies all his guff about playing without fear he’s been spouting over the last few months and weeks!.

He has of course exemplified the qualities needed in a Captain for most of those two games, he did exactly what was asked of him, but I think he could have done much more and the fact that he didn’t when the opportunities for positive attacking play were there underline his defensive back line credentials, not that of a midfield general.

Unless he can learn to curb the tendency to play safe – which tends to slow us down again and again, must mean that sooner or later as new squad competition develops (or is bought in) he will, in my opinion, be struggling to hold a starting midfield position down.

As it is, we`ve now bought Sanchez, who has played to universal acclaim and looked like he`s played in the Premier league for years.

You might think that this has completely blocked Diers immediate way back to where he belongs, but I strongly believe that is not the case – perhaps next summer, like it or not, we`ll be forced to sell Toby for a busting gut load of money (I think the decision has been made and informal talks between suitors may already have occurred) and we can then decide that either we don`t need to replace him or we go back out into the market, or perhaps (unlikely so) take a gamble with Cameron Carter Vickers who in fairness has done nothing but impress on his loan, and some are so impressed with his progress that we just might be holding onto him next summer, which is an outcome I have to say I thought was very unlikely.

So someone hurry up and do the wake up and smell the coffee speech to Eric, or if necessary give him a slap and tell him to stop being silly because if he isn`t smart, he could end up being gobsmacked when he`s another Englishman that can`t make the starting 11 moreoften than not.

If that happens it will be a tragedy for us and England, if not him seeking a pretty swift exit.


23 Replies to “Tottenham Have A Massive Problem With Eric.”

  • It must be a quiet news day for anyone to see a massive problem with Eric Dier. He was the England captain and played in midfield against two rubbish teams Germany and Brazil. And had a good game protecting his back defenders. If he is a better player at centre of defence then a great option for England and Spurs. Do we have other players who are massive problems like Dier – I hope so!. I would be more concerned about muscle injuries to Eriksen and Dier due to the running they have done recently . Now that would be a problem.

  • I have been praising Eric Dier for years now and I could not disagree more. His upbringing in Portugal and general football acumen put him in a class above most young English players his age. Comparing him to Winks is pointless. Winks is a more technical player but he’ll never out-muscle anyone and Dier’s toughness is something a lot of opposing attacking players fear (this isn’t to take anything away from Winks – they just have different qualities. It’s a bit like saying that Kane will never have Suarez’ or Aguero’s skill, or Lukaku’s pace – probably true, but it doesn’t stop Kane from scoring and being effective). I saw Dier stand up to Diego Costa a couple of seasons ago against Chelsea and he won that physical battle that day – something Winks will never do. I think his build is more suited for that of a commanding centre back, but his rare mix of size and technical ability (just look at his debut goal against West Ham – not many defenders have that ball control) make him an asset to any squad. The fact that he can play multiple positions well are almost a guarantee for him to make the England squad for major tournaments. The manager can only call up 23 players for an EC/WC, and players who can play multiple positions well give that manager options. Picking someone like Dier might mean being able to pick an extra attacking playing player/striker. Overall I am quite impressed with him, and I take the bad (his occasional mistakes) with the good (leadership, physicality, a good footballing brain). He’s never going to be a Pirlo but he doesn’t have to be. Many great players have made an awesome career out of being able to break up play effectively (in the past, Roy Keane or Patrick Vieira. Now, players like Daniele De Rossi).

  • Dier is probably the weakest senior CB we have, but only because the other 3 are so good. Name me 5 other players that can switch between CB, CDM and Fullback as effortlessly as Dier?

  • I’d give Eric a slap! A big fat slap on the back and good firm slap on the hand. A very “well done mate”, and a triumphant high five. – For all the good reasons given in the 3 posts before me.

  • Dier is awesome and if he’s going to have a bad game let it be for England in a Friendly, nothing to see here.

  • I don’t have much of in issue with Dier. As other haves said, his versatility (thanks to Poch’s tinkering) is great for Spurs and England. As for his two Captain’s roles in the friendlies and his performance in general, imo, our players are so honed in to Poch’s philosophy that when they play alongside fringe players at Spurs and makeshift team for England, their performances suffer as 1) England’s intensity is almost non-existent, 2) lack of telepathy with the absence of the regulars. What I saw last night v Brazil was like an FA Cup mismatch and we were resorting to lumping the ball. I digress, but the point is Dier (unbeaten during captaincy) had an OK game and playing 2 DM’s and very little off the ball movement, most of his passing was short. He can hold his head up high and imo, he’d be one the 1st names to board the plane to Russia.

    Now the other point is, does HE like being labelled Mr Versatile?. Change of position from one game to another and sometimes during the game, must be the most difficult thing to learn and execute. For that reason alone he deserves a bit of slack. He doing just dandy!

  • Agree with MP, CB all day long for me. Since Dier has gone to the back the three man midfield looks more fluid and that includes playing Sisoko.

  • It appeared that other top club managers, and the England head coach see the qualities and merits of Erik Dier much more than many Spurs supporters see in him. He is a very versatile defensive player at home in CD or DMF or FB all at an international quality level. No he won’t play expansive passes like Toby Alderwiereld often does, but he will win balls, give them safe and simple to team mates, run for ever, score the odd set piece goal, would command a huge fee should he leave, and cost a bomb to replace. He is still young and will improve further, so what’s not to like.

  • The fact that we are talking about whether Dier is better as a central defender or defensive midfield player tells you he can do both. Its less about which is his best position and more about where Pochettino and Southgate most need him. Talking about Winks is a bit of a red herring. Winks is a practically unique all round midfield player who is equally comfortable attacking and defending, that’s why he’s become so valuable to Southgate so quickly. He won’t however be playing centre half and he’s wasted to some extent playing the anchor role in midfield although he can do it.

  • Dier’s greatest attribute to his manager has been always being available for team selection. He has amassed so many great games as guys like Toby, Vertonghen and now Wanyama have had their injuries and is a colossus in the squad. Saying that, his greatest period in the side was when we were playing 4-2-3-1. That allowed him to drop in between Jan and Toby and get the wing-backs forward. We don’t generally play that way now we have Sanchez as a mainstay of the side.

    For me, Dier is not a Michael Dawson type player who had early promise but never got much better than average. He also won’t be like Dawson in that he could only have a great game when someone else was doing all the thinking for him e.g. King, Gallas. Dawson was a terrible organiser of a back line and was culpable so many times of rushes of blood and switching off on set pieces. Top bloke but was never of the standard that he should have been captain. To put that into perspective, Dier is already better than Dawson ever was at the tender age of 23. Yes, he has also been culpable positionally at the back couple of times, but at 23 so did Toby and Jan and we think of them now as the best in the business.

  • Agree with Muttley 100% always said spurs would win nothing with Dawson playing he *****ed Verts off to the point of Verts looking like a bad player. I was so Happy when AvB had put Dawson up for sale only for Dawson to somehow find his way back into the team. When Mp got rid of Dawson it was the turning point for spurs.

  • Muttley makes a very good point and I have often thought he’s not in my top 2 holding midfielders or my top three central defenders at Spurs and yet he nearly always starts and should IMO because his attitude and commitment is exemplary which is also what makes him good captain material. On a side-note I think he’s by far the best England CB and CDM

  • Dawson obviously wasn’t the most gifted of players but he had a heart as big as Pharlap and was not afraid to bleed for Spurs on the park. I’ll always respect him and like him for that.

  • Geof- I think most Spurs fans agree. I admired Dawson’s commitment. I just never thought he was good enough for a top 6 PL team, let alone as captain. I like the person, but the player needed to go.

  • Palmer since you said we won nothing with Dawson, now Dawson has left can you please tell me what we have won since he left?

  • Jesus Daws wasn’t that bad. We finished 5th numerous times with him playing most weeks. 4th as well. Him and KING looked brilliant together. Daws and Woodgate looked very solid as well. He was a good defender. Lacked some pace and mobility but in the main solid enough.

  • Exactly RD…

    If he wasn’t good enough for a top 6 team, then what the hell was he was doing actually finishing in the top 6, regularly with Spurs?!

  • 123. Nothing. MP in 3 seasons hasn’t found a way to win a trophy with the players he has at his disposal. Has he had opportunities to win trophies yes, but as Wenger pointed out he has to over come the fear factor of losing learn how to pick the right team to get the job done. I think MP’s approach is better suited to the week in week out of the prem league and i haven’t given up hope that he could deliver an EPl title, unless the stars align i don’t think MP has what it takes to win a knock out cup competition.

  • I don’t think you can attribute our finishes to one player only. In his later years for us, we finished 5th despite Dawson, not thanks to him. Isn’t it funny how our defensive record has improved since the arrival of Vertonghen first, then Toby? Dawson wasn’t that bad from 2004-2010. From 2011-2014, he was awful. Overall a good servant to the club, but you can’t live on your past achievements forever and he just wasn’t good enough in the last 2/3 seasons.

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