Quiet man Dier can inspire at World Cup
FROM castaway to captain – Eric Dier completed an unlikely journey.
The man who was left out of Gareth Southgate’s Under-21 squad in 2015 skippered last night’s England side against Brazil, the five-time world champions.
His omission two years ago came after the outspoken 23-year-old made it clear that he didn’t fancy playing at full-back.
Southgate, though he may have denied it at the time, was clearly letting the versatile star know who was boss.
Now though, the England manager admits Dier is his sounding board. His conduit to the kids. And he was very much captain on merit at Wembley.
It was wasn’t just about wearing the arm armband here, either.
It was about becoming the latest leader in Southgate’s brave new world.
About ripping up the rule book that suggests you must have status, experience and b be some sort of all-action he hero to lead the Three Lions.
Ins Instead Dier, with his quiet authority, led by example. He refused to be overawed either by the skill or the superior technique of the serial thrillers.
His belief spread to his team-mates who, realising Brazil could be kept at bay, began to launch a few second-half thrusts of their own. Jamie Vardy (left) tested the much-vaunted visitors with his pace.
Marcus Rashford ran at them at will. Ruben Loftus-cheek, before his premature first-half exit, lived up to his surname by impudently sending South Americans the wrong way.
Dier, policing that area in front of the back four, was the glue that held it all together. You can see why Jose Mourinho wanted him at Manchester United. You could see why Mauricio Pochettino had no intention of surrendering him from Spurs.
Dier’s value, both for club and country, has been underestimated in the past.
Last night he demonstrated he will be an important cog in the Southgate wheel as it rolls on towards the World Cup.