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