Tottenham News: It is up to Eric Dier to prove he can be world class - Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham News: It is up to Eric Dier to prove he can be world class - Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham News: It is up to Eric Dier to prove he can be world class - Mauricio Pochettino

The Tottenham manager says he took one of the biggest risks of his Tottenham tenure two summers ago when he decided to experiment with the young defender in a more forward position instead of dipping into the transfer market following the departures of Paulinho and Etienne Capoue.

He feels that has paid off and Dier is perhaps ready to go from being a jack of all trades to master of one.

“For him it is fantastic to have the possibility to play in different positions,” Pochettino said. “If he in time shows he is great or one of the best in the world in one position, okay that is fantastic for him.

“When we signed Toby Alderweireld from Atletico the club decision was to sign another midfielder or to give the possibility to Eric to fit into that position on the pitch.

“We provided him with the tools to try to play there and it is true we found a way for him to play comfortably on the pitch.

“We took a big risk not signing another midfielder and it was fantastic – he had a fantastic season. He deserved all the praise and our decision to be brave paid off and gave him the possibility to play in a club like Tottenham where you fight for big things.”
Tottenham visit West Ham tomorrow, the fixture in which Dier made his debut three years ago, initially as a centre-back but then switching to right-back when Kyle Naughton was sent off. He scored a last-minute winner.

“We feel very proud about him,” Pochettino said. “When we signed him more than three years ago it was maybe our first signing after we arrived at Tottenham. We analysed everything, his background, history, everything.

“In Portugal he was so young and we watched a lot of games but always playing as a centre-back or full-back, never a holding midfielder. Our idea always when we signed him was a young centre-back with potential to be very good for us and play in the first team. He achieved many, many more things than he expected.”

Having initially caused what Pochettino described as a “polemic” with England for refusing to play at right-back with the Under-21 side under Gareth Southgate, now he has moved onto senior side manager, the England boss sees Dier as one of the few players in the country capable of occupying a defensive midfield role.

Such is the demand for that sort of player that all summer he was linked with a move to Manchester United, although Pochettino is adamant it never came to the point where he was faced with a decision over whether or not to let him go.

“I am a bit away from all that happens,” Pochettino said. “The only thing is the final decision when we sign or sell players – Daniel comes in and says we have that offer or we can do this. Did I have to make such a decision over Eric? No.”