Date: 26th March 2018 at 3:44pm
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In any modern football team, you have to have players in your squad that can play multiple positions. This is not a utility player per se (someone who is a jack of all trades capable of filling anywhere). It`s more down to the player`s attributes, and having the skillset, and talent to play in a number of roles in a flexible tactical setup.

The more of these types of players you have at your disposal, the better you are able to adapt, either in time`s of an injury crisis or more commonly when the manager wants to change the system to give the team the best chance of winning.

Eric Dier has certainly been one of those players under Pochettino. Having joined the club the same year as our manager, the England international`s development has been great to see, but at the age of 24, there is still some debate over where his best position will be in the long term.

If we look at him as a purely physical specimen. At 6ft 2, he would be a prime candidate to play as a regular centre half, especially with his passing range that would suit our style well. Yet, for me personally, I have not always been convinced with his positional sense, and although I think he has time to improve in this area if he is afforded a longer run a centre half, I don`t think Poch is convinced by him in the position.

For sure, he can play in the backline, even as a full back, but the signings of Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth in the summer suggest the future beyond Toby and Jan is elsewhere. If we play in a back three more often than not than Eric could be a regular, but on this season`s evidence, the return to a back four looks here to stay.

So where does that leave our no.15? Essentially back as a holding midfielder. Just over half (52%) of his 176 matches for Tottenham have come in midfield, 36% at centre half and the other 12% on the right hand side.

He allows us to play with an extremely attacking central midfield while he protects the backline. Also, his defensive capabilities means he can slot in at the back when the centre back`s split in possession. I see his future in midfield. How about you? Let me know in the poll.


16 Replies to “Where Does This Tottenham Man`s Future Lie?”

  • Whilst only 24, Dier is a leader within our squad. He also seems to be one of those players that is always fit and available unlike some of his team mates. I’m not sure he’s the most elegant footballer at times but he is very effective, particularly when he has talented players around him who he can offload the ball to. I still see him as a centre mid long term but appreciate that he can drop into centre half and mostly do a great job. What I want to see more than anything is for Wanyama to get back to top form and share the burden of what Dier gives over a season.

  • I’m not sure what his best position is but he’s a key part of this team. He nearly always starts, maybe partly because he’s always fit, but I think Poch will always try and fit him in or at minimum bring him on from the bench. As you say he’s a leader and always shows a lot of character and these qualities are match-winning one’s even if there are more skilful players in both positions

  • His sloppiness gets highlighted way more at CB. At least when he is MF he can somewhat get away with it.

  • To much hit n miss, can be very sloppy at times, he cud get a 9 and then following week a 6.

  • Central midfield – he apparently is our best tackler by far. Him and Dembele end of. Great covering for the back 4 even in the back 4 during games and good passer of the ball just like Dembele. If needs be we could deputise him at CB and bring in Wanyama – just shows our strength in depth. Will go onto be an unsung legend like a few others I have mentioned recently. Quality player and we can look to build around him especially but also Dembele for the future – he offers protection to the back 4 and makes us solid when going forwards because of this. The only reason I struggle with him is on how to fit in all our attacking players and the one’s I believe are on the way but like Guyver stated – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – top of form league and it’s playing 4-1-3-1 so – so be it.

  • That should be 4-2-3-1. If we went 4-1-4-1 – it would be interesting to see who got dropped Dier or Dembele – probably Dembele although I stated trying to play him at DCM as I thought he also has the “emergency” qualities to fulfil the role as if I remember correctly he came quite high in our list of tacklers also – natural given his position especially when we are on the back foot.

  • Unsung hero indeed, El Jefe, and I agree CM as he can have the odd lapse, which is probably the only blot he has. He’s versatile, fit and a good link in the spine at either position – had a great game v Madrid when Toby went off, and a thumbs up to his leadership abilities, PLYid. Hard to see him start if everyone is fit and on form, muttley, but maybe gets less credit for his overall consistency despite often playing multiple positions on a varying basis. At 24 he’s not into his prime years yet, but at 176 appearances for the Spurs, the future’s Lilywhite

  • ” but on this season`s evidence, the return to a back four looks here to stay.”

    I think the three back formation hasn’t been used since early in the season because of lots of matches lost to injury to Toby and Verts. I like how the team played with the three backs and the roving wingbacks, and I suspect Poch did, too. 3-5-3 will be back when the personnel are in place at the CB. Too much of this season has been played with patch-work as too many crucial players have been injured. Verts, Toby, Dembele, Wanyama, Winks, etc. That’s a whole lot of players being hurt for long stretches. Can’t always play the way the plans were laid down when that happens. Team has played remarkably well with all the time lost and players being below their best.

  • mello – I can sort of agree that Dier wouldn’t get in if the entire squad was fit but there is more to it than that. The mystery for me is that Wanyama was injured from Aug to Dec and yet hasn’t kept Dier out since. I can’t even justify Wanyama being picked over Dier either as his form hasn’t been what it was last season. Same could be said for Rose who has been available for selection for a while now but first choice is definitely Davies. Rose has looked a shadow of his former self recently when playing, especially for England on Friday. The final piece of the jigsaw is Toby who has only managed to get out on the pitch a couple of times since his hamstring injury on Nov 1st. I could build a case that all 3 of these would be in our theoretical best eleven. My guess is that we’re unlikely ever to see that happen again though with the contract status of Rose and Toby.

  • Looks like Ajax have unearthed another young centre half in Matthijs De Ligt. Koeman picked the 18 year old for Holland last night as they beat Portugal 3-0. Can’t imagine Ajax reaction if Spurs puts in a bid for the next one on the conveyor belt of great centre halves 🙂

  • You don’t play Dier in his best position, you play him wherever you most need him. Its partly about injuries but its also about tactics. In the modern game the ability to play different formations has become much more important, hence players who can play multiple positions well have become much more valuable.

  • At spurs hopefully!!, very good solid player, one of the unsung heroes, the occasional scapegoat unfortunately

  • The first part of the season Eric was not playing too well. He made some glaring errors and was careless at times and just didn?t seem in sync with the rest of the team. However this year he has generally been very good and excellent at times. Like Alli he is young and should become more consistent with age. Also like Alli he is very fit and not injury prone which is important. He really *****ed me off with his poor play and general lackadaisical manner earlier in the season but I think he can be a winner for us if he stays focused. I prefer him in midfield by far, he worries me at the back although he has played really well there at times particularly at Madrid away.

  • Muttley, I’m in agreement there. Wanyama (as well as Rose and Toby) hasn’t been at the same level since his return and Dier appears to be making more of a claim for the spot, which is all good for the Spurs. Poch has been like that with a few players and I can’t find fault in his logic. Davis and Sanchez have really stepped up, which is excellent, bringing out the best in their teammates, showing off our depth.

  • If we do nick the CB from Ajax we should officially call them our feeder club lol Don’t think they’ll be too pleased, unless we pay a fair rate. Should we say he’s on loan to Ajax at the moment? 🙂

  • mello – depends whether we want to get him 3 years playing under the English and Welsh FA before his 21st b’day which would make him homegrown 🙂

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