Eric de­liv­ers a Dier warn­ing that Eng­land can’t have Rus­sian re­grets

The Sunday Post (Dundee) - - England Latest - By John Bar­rett sport@sundaypost.com

Eric Dier ac­cepts that win­ning the World Cup next sum­mer is prob­a­bly not a re­al­is­tic tar­get for Eng­land’s play­ers.

But there is one vi­able goal Dier is de­ter­mined to meet. He wants to come home with no re­grets.

The young Tot­ten­ham mid­fielder was dev­as­tated by his coun­try’s fail­ure at Euro 2016 – par­tic­u­larly the col­lec­tive melt­down against Ice­land – and con­fessed it took him a long time to re­cover from the sense of un­der-achieve­ment.

Now Eng­land have se­cured their spot in Rus­sia, his over­rid­ing con­cern is to make sure that doesn’t hap­pen again.

“All the lads who were in France have a point to prove to them­selves, as well as every­one else,” he says.

“It wasn’t a very good ex­pe­ri­ence. We have a lot of peo­ple to prove wrong.

“I don’t have much ex­pe­ri­ence of tour­na­ments, and I don’t know why we’ve strug­gled at them in the past.

“But, more than any­thing, I hope we can go there, give our all in every game, and have no re­grets at the end of it.

“We want to be happy with what we do. I think that’s the most im­por­tant thing.

“I cer­tainly hope we have a bet­ter tour­na­ment than we’ve had in re­cent years. Per­son­ally, I want to go to the World Cup and try to win every game.

“That will be my men­tal­ity, and hope­fully that of the rest of the team, too.

“Of course, we’re very happy to have qualified. It will be an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us.

“It’s very ex­cit­ing be­cause it’s not just the big­gest foot­ball event, but a world sport­ing event as well.

“My first mem­ory of a World Cup is the one in Ja­pan in 2002 and Ronaldino’s goal against Eng­land. I was eight at the time.

“For me, reach­ing the Fi­nals means ev­ery­thing and the mo­ti­va­tion is mas­sive.”

Dier has tried to put aside the ob­vi­ous flat­ness of the Wem­b­ley crowd that wit­nessed the low-key se­cur­ing of that qual­i­fi­ca­tion spot against Slove­nia last Thurs­day.

Pa­per aero­planes rained down from the stands as sup­port­ers reg­is­tered their bore­dom at the man­ner of the per­for­mance.

“It didn’t re­ally bother me what the fans were do­ing,” he says. “Fans are hard to please some­times, but we’ll do our best.

“We had one ob­jec­tive, and that was to win the game to qual­ify for the World Cup. I don’t think we can do much more than that.

“There is still a lot to im­prove on and I don’t think any­one in the squad would say any­thing to the con­trary. Luck­ily we have time to do that.

“I hope every­one sticks with us and can sup­port this team. We are try­ing hard and you can’t say any­one is not giv­ing their best.

“Against Slove­nia, we kept go­ing and didn’t panic. It was a very frus­trat­ing night, I won’t deny that.

“They de­fended well and were hard to break down, but our per­sis­tence paid off.

“There’s no such thing as an easy foot­ball game any more. Every team poses dif­fer­ent ques­tions.

“The most im­por­tant thing is who we are as a team, what style we want to play and what we want to rep­re­sent.

“It’s good that we’ve got two friendlies against Ger­many and Brazil next month.

“If you are go­ing to truly test your­self run­ning up to a World Cup, it’s got to be against the big­gest nations.”

Dier, of course, has club tro­phies to chase before he flies to Rus­sia, and his Tot­ten­ham am­bi­tions are high.

“There’s so much foot­ball to be played before next sum­mer and you never know what’s go­ing to hap­pen,” he says.

“But what I re­ally dream of is win­ning the Pre­mier League with Tot­ten­ham and then win­ning some­thing with Eng­land.”

Spurs and Eng­land de­fender Eric Dier

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