Position: Defensive Midfield
Club: Tottenham Hotspur
International Team: England
International Appearances: 47
Market Value: £27million
Quote: “ I looked at it like I had nothing to lose. Now it’s just a question of maintaining it.”
Eric Dier was born in Cheltenham on January 15th, 1994 – but moved to Portugal at the age of seven when his mother was offered a job running the hospitality programme at Euro 2004.
His parents returned to England in 2010, but the 16-year-old remained behind in Lisbon to play football, having joined Sporting CP’s academy at the age of eight.
He spent 18 months on loan at Everton playing for the Toffees’ Under-18 side in 2011-12, but struggled to adapt to English life – so it was no surprise he returned to Sporting, despite winning the Under-18 Premier League with the Merseysiders.
The summer of 2012 saw the defensive midfielder make his debut for the Portuguese club’s B team, with his first senior goal coming on November 4th.
Seven days later, the talented midfielder made his full first-team debut. He then went on to make 31 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal.
Brimming with obvious talent and his English family connection, it was inevitable that Premier League clubs would soon come calling. Sure enough, he penned a five-year deal with Tottenham in August 2014.
Dier has since gone on to play more than 150 times for the north Londoners and, having chosen England over Portugal internationally, made his full debut for the Three Lions against Spain in November 2015 under then-manager Roy Hodgson.
Hodgson kept faith with the youngster and he scored England’s only goal as they drew 1-1 with Russia in their opening match of a disappointing Euro 2016 campaign.
Most comfortable playing a central holding role, the Spurs man has won 23 caps to date, scoring three goals in the process and looks set to be part of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The hard-working midfielder is known to be a decent dead-ball specialist both for club and country. Free kicks are likely to be the greatest source of his goals over the years, as he is not a regular visitor to opposition penalty boxes – for obvious reasons.
Dier has also formed an excellent understanding with club and international team-mates Deli Alli and Harry Kane, so it would be no surprise to see the trio in England colours for many years to come.
His versatility makes Dier a manager’s dream, since he is comfortable not just in central defence, but also deployed as a right-back (although the middle of the park remains his favourite location.)
The 23-year-old has made it clear that he is 100 per cent English and is totally committed to the national team, but says he will always call Portugal “home”.