Tottenham midfielder-turn-defender Eric Dier has admitted he was close to leaving the club after a specific game last season.
The England international was substituted after just 29 minutes in Spurs’ Champions League tie with Olympiacos in December 2019.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he recalled the moment as one of the harshest lessons of his career, stating he thought his ‘career was over’.
He said: “It really was one of the toughest moments in my professional life.
“The manager was completely right to take me off. I wasn’t performing. And we won the game.
“But having to take steps back from the commitment I had made to my new position at that time was very difficult for me.”
The 26-year-old came clean, saying he thought about leaving the London club with his game time being limited and his contract running down.
“I didn’t feel like I was achieving what I wanted,” he said.
“When your contract starts to come to an end, you question if you’re part of the future.
“I had no desire to be at a club in the last year of my contract. The club knew the summer would see a decision made either way.”
However, the former Sporting Lisbon player went on to sign a new deal in July, putting to bed his concerns.
Dier explained how this experience prompted him to ask Spurs boss Jose Mourinho to revert him back to a defender.
Continuing to speak about his Olympiacos experience, he said: “I had played Pochettino’s last two games at centre-back, so it was difficult to go back to playing in midfield again.
“I explained that to Mourinho. I said to him: ‘This is where I want to play. In defence’. But I knew it was a risk.
“After Chelsea he came to me. He just said: ‘Ok if you want to play centre back, now is your chance. Show me’.
“I thrived off that challenge. It was what I had wanted to hear. It was an opportunity.
“My main focus is always to be in a position competing to play. Feeling there’s a plan in place for me is important, too.
“They were the major factors in me deciding to stay here and I couldn’t be happier.”
Dier subsequently got his chance in February and has played 22 Tottenham games at centre-half since.