Mauricio Pochettino has picked out the two players he feels have transformed Tottenham into potential title challengers this season.
Tottenham currently boast the best defence in the league and central to that success has been the form of Eric Dier.
Dier spent 18 months on loan at Everton as a teenager but only played for the club’s youth teams, before returning to Sporting Lisbon and moving to Spurs in August 2014.
“We are very pleased because he has started to play in a position that was his real position,” Pochettino said.
“When we decided he should start to play as a holding midfielder it’s because we saw he had the qualities to play in that position.
“He got into the national team as a holding midfielder. Maybe in the future his best position is centre midfield or maybe it’s centre defence or full-back.
“But he is very young and very comfortable in the position he is playing.
“If we analyse him, today he is one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League.”
Dier has formed a rock-solid base in front of centre-backs Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, and on Sunday the trio will be tasked with stopping Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, who has 11 goals in his last 10 matches.
Alderweireld has been one of Tottenham’s star performers so far this season and Pochettino paid tribute to the Belgian’s impact on the team.
“I think it’s obvious Alderweireld after 19 games is one of the best defenders,” Pochettino said.
“He does a very good performance and shows maturity and experience. Great boy, great man and we are very happy him.
“I think they (Alderweireld and Vertonghen) are good partners. For me it is important how we work as a team to try defend. Our keeper is key as well.
“We need a very good balance. But it is true Toby has made a very good impact in the team.”