England Watch: Youth Edition

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Eric Dier shone during his Tottenham debut – the youngster brings attributes to center back that most in England lack


If it’s one thing England are not short of right now (despite the thoughts to the contrary) its center-backs.  What England ARE short of, is QUALITY center-backs, but as Ben eluded to with his thoughts on Berahino, it’s that England players are more often than not selected based off the club they play for, not their performances for said clubs.

On that evidence, that is why the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling still remain in the fold for the national team, while many other more deserving players are frozen out of the selection process. Players such as Curtis Davies, Steven Caulker and Ryan Shawcross (to a certain extent) have yet to break into the England camp given the preference for players who are at big clubs.  The emergence of Everton under Roberto Martinez has brought young John Stones into the public conscious, but will the same be said for Tottenham’s Eric Dier?

Dier’s debut performance for Spurs against West Ham at Upton Park could not have gone more to the script for the young player; not only was he excellent at both center-back and right-back, but he ended up bagging the winner in stoppage time after he rounded Adrian and calmly slotted past the Spaniard like any gifted striker would have.  Read that statement again, and then you’ll see the beauty about Dier.

Not only is Dier a versatile defender, but he gained his footballing education on the continent at Sporting Lisbon.  With the vast majority of English defenders being the usual blend of power, aerial ability and bullish in nature, Dier’s Portuguese upbringing offers something even more comprehensive in nature.  Dier possesses the ability to play the ball from the back, he has more pace than most English center-backs you will come to find, and he is technically astute – if it’s anything that England have lacked in, well, forever, it’s a continental feel to their style and the players they select.

While one performance for Spurs does not lay down the gauntlet to his competition in the long run, Dier could well find himself routinely in the first team at White Hart Lane under Mauricio Pochettino, who is not afraid to turn to youth if they have the requisite talent.  At current in England, there are six young center-backs who will come under the microscope this season, and Dier will surely be one of them.