Quiet man Dier can in­spire at World Cup

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - SPORT - BY DAR­REN LEWIS

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.

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