Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has helped nurture 10 of the last 18 newly-capped England players – and is unique in giving youngsters a chance, according to Eric Dier.
Since arriving at Southampton in January 2013, Pochettino has embraced young home-grown talent like no other top-flight boss to such an extent that England could field a team of outfielders purely made up of players to have played under Argentine.
Nathaniel Clyne (made England debut within months of Pochettino leaving Southampton)
Kane, Alli and Dier all played in England’s 2-0 win over France at Wembley on Tuesday night, with Alli repaying the faith shown in him with a goal and man-of-the-match performance as Dier impressed in defensive midfield having been converted into the role by Pochettino over the summer.
“If you’d told me that in the summer that I would make my debut as a midfielder, I’d have thought you were crazy,” Dier said.
“I think the manager was probably the only one who believed it at the beginning of the year and hopefully I have proved a lot of people wrong.
“I am really pleased the manager (Roy Hodgson) gave me a chance and hopefully I took it. That’s what you’ve got to do when you get chances.”
However, chances are often few and far between for young English talent in the Premier League, making Pochettino’s impact all the more impressive.
“Our club manager is giving young English players a chance and if you take it then I guess that’s where you can end up,” Dier said.
“I think that’s what all us young Spurs boys have been doing.
“I think maybe he just doesn’t have the fear that other managers have in giving people a chance, you know?
“I think if we then didn’t take our chance, then we probably wouldn’t be where we are now.
“He has no fear in giving you a chance, but then it is obviously up to the player to take it.”
Dier not getting carried away
Dier arrived at Spurs last summer from another club happy to put their trust in youth, Sporting Lisbon, whose youth system he came through.
It is a learning experience the 21-year-old reflects on positively, so too the chance to go to Euro 2004 as a fan growing up in Portugal.
Now, 11 and a half years on, Dier could well find his way playing at a European Championship, although the defensive midfielder is not getting ahead of himself.
“I am sure that’s what the manager wants, problems,” he said of young talent pushing the more experienced squad members.
“Hopefully we have given him some and us young lads have just got to keep pushing.
“I am sure more experienced players will be worried about that and they’ll keep pushing.
“It is just a matter of keep going and see what happens. I just try my best and see where that takes me.”