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

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Aviva Premiership -

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

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