Dier: Blame the industry not the players for huge salaries
England midfielder says people should see game’s finances in the round, reports Steve Madeley
Eric Dier has launched a staunch defence of wealthy young footballers and claimed players should not be blamed for spiralling wages in Europe’s top leagues. The Tottenham Hotspur and England midfielder called for more understanding from supporters over the challenges facing players dealing with huge incomes.
And he believes colleagues who react badly to the pressure should be treated sympathetically and not pilloried for their mistakes.
Huge transfers this summer, including a £50million transfer to Manchester City for Dier’s former club team-mate Kyle Walker, Barcelona selling Neymar for £198 million and buying Ousmane Dembele for £135 million, have thrown finances into even sharper focus.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” said Dier, who is expected to return from suspension when England host Slovakia at Wembley tomorrow. “People don’t realise how difficult it is for us to handle.
“It isn’t easy. I read something that Jamie Carragher wrote last year, talking about psychologists. He said we are extremely gifted footballers, not humans, or something along those lines.
“And I think people need to remember that sometimes. We’re normal human beings with a gift, so it’s very difficult to handle all of those situations that happen in football with money and fame, etc.
“As for the money, that’s the world we live in and it’s a business. If another sport was gaining that revenue all over the world, its people would be earning similar amounts of money. I’m not saying I agree with it, I’m just saying that’s where the industry is at.
“It’s not Dembele’s fault that he’s good at football and someone is willing to pay £135million for him, it’s where the industry’s at and footballers are the last people to blame for someone wanting to pay that much money for them. They have no say in that.”
Dier refused to be drawn on the issue of Tottenham team-mate Danny Rose, whose comments about “knowing his worth” and veiled criticism of the Spurs hierarchy this summer caused consternation at White Hart Lane.
“The manager has spoken about it recently and I think it’s all been resolved,” he said. “I don’t want to comment any further.”
Rose’s club and international team-mate, however, warmed to the wider topic of public perceptions of his fellow players.
“We could talk about this issue all day,” said Dier. “It’s so complex. Nowadays, with social media up there and mobile phones, it’s constant. It’s 24/7 really. As footballers, it’s extremely important because everyone knows we are role models and we need to try to carry ourselves in the right way because thousands or millions of kids are looking up to you in a sense. I think every footballer takes that very seriously, their image from that point of view, and rightly so.
“But if you were to follow any 21-year-old or 22-year-old boy around for six months I’m sure you’d see a lot of bad stuff. So I think everyone has to realise that, at the end of the day, we are just young boys.
“In football, at 25, you are seen as being in the middle of your career but, from a life point of view, you are still a young boy, so boys are going to make mistakes. So, it’s how people handle that which is the real show of their character.
“But I think footballers in general as role models are really fantastic.” Dier’s immediate concern is tomorrow, when he will attempt to forget Tottenham’s struggles at their temporary Wembley home to help England win their World Cup qualifier.
The surroundings will be different, with England switching a year ago to the opposite of the stadium’s two identical dressing rooms to the one Spurs have chosen.
Yet he refuses, anyway, to indulge talk of a Wembley hoodoo.
“If you get down to it and look at last season in the Champions League with Spurs, we weren’t in a good period as a team, full stop. “People just wanted to jump on the Wembley thing. This season with the Chelsea game, I thought we played extremely well for the whole game. We lost, but I thought our performance was very good. Last weekend [against Burnley] we didn’t kill the game off, so we drew. It’s grass and four lines, I don’t think it makes too much of a difference.”
Tomorrow will be England’s first home game since the retirement of Wayne Rooney, with Dier among the vocal members of Gareth Southgate’s squad expected to fill the void created by the record goalscorer’s exit from the national team.
“I think it’s really sad for English football, because he’s been a fantastic player for England for so many years and broken so many records and what people don’t see is the kind of things Wayne would do with myself and Dele Alli and the other young players when they come to England for the first time,” said Dier.
“The way he would look after us was fantastic. I don’t think Wayne was holding us up by the shirt or anything, but obviously there is now the chance for other players to try to step into those shoes – and they are pretty big shoes.
“It’s for the players who are here and those who are trying to break into the squad to take on that mantle and try to bring England on.”
‘It’s not Dembele’s fault that he’s good at football and someone wants to pay £135m’
On the defensive: Eric Dier says Premier League players such as himself and Kyle Walker (left) have no say in the salaries they are paid