Eric Dier tips familiar Sporting dangerman for big things and tackles Tottenham ‘favourites’ tag
Eric Dier has admitted that Tottenham will have their eyes on former Spurs academy star Marcus Edwards in Tuesday’s clash with Sporting.
The two sides meet in the Champions League looking to build on impressive starts in the competition. Spurs, upon their first season back in the competition in three seasons, beat Marseille 2-0 last time out.
Portuguese giants Sporting, meanwhile, overcame Europa League holders Eintracht Frankfurt in a 3-0 win.
And one player who is starring for Ruben Amorim’s side is former Tottenham academy man Edwards. The winger failed to get a first-team look in in north London and subsequently left for Portugal in 2019.
After two-and-a-half seasons with Vitoria Guimaraes, Sporting snapped him up. He has scored three goals and assisted three others in seven games this season, including a goal and assist in the win over Frankfurt.
Dier, a former Sporting man himself, said of the 23-year-old: “I remember him well. He trained with us for a few years at Tottenham.
“I think he is a very talented player. Technically very good and someone we will have to pay a lot of attention to tomorrow.
“I think he’s done extremely well since he arrived. It’s very difficult to come to a new country and play in a different league.
“Obviously leaving the situation he was in at Tottenham to play regular football, to go to the team he went to and do so well and then Sporting buying him from there is something he can be very proud of.”
Indeed, Dier backed the Englishman to make the senior Three Lions squad if his form continues.
“I mean If he keeps evolving like that, I think he could get to the national team,” Dier told his pre-match press conference.
Eric Dier tackles Tottenham ‘favourites’ tag
On paper, Tottenham have arguably the easiest Champions League group of the English teams taking part this season.
And Sporting manager Amorim therefore made them favourites to sail through to the last 16 in top spot.
But Dier said: “I respect his opinion. Whether we are favourites or not, I don’t know but it is his opinion and I respect that.
“I still say it will be very difficult game for us and we are prepared for that but we came here to win.”
Dier has enjoyed a resurgence under Tottenham manager Antonio Conte after struggles for form under previous coaches.
Asked about potentially returning to the England squad, the centre-back said: “I am happy with how the season has started. For me there is always space for improvement and I’m trying my best to keep doing that, to keep improving.
“I think I still have a lot of space for that and to be honest I’m not thinking about anything else other than the game tomorrow and trying to play well for Tottenham.”
Spurs defender in good place
Dier has always had his critics while he has been at Tottenham, but there is no doubting he has been a loyal servant for the club.
Indeed, the 28-year-old has spent eight years at the Premier League club and made 326 appearances.
Dier’s future looked unclear at points at Tottenham, but he is now a firm part of Conte’s plan.
His performances in the Premier League will of course spark interest from Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
But, solid performances and clean sheets in the Champions League will only help his cause too.
This campaign is a big one for Dier, who will have one year left on his contract at the end of the season. As he edges nearer to his thirties, a solid season would help define a decision over his future.
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