A moment in time: When Mauricio Pochettino reinvented Eric Dier

A lot of football fans don’t see the brilliance in Eric Dier. The young versatile Tottenham man who grew up in Portugal has dug Tottenham out of a lot of holes and his performances from the centre of midfield are becoming routine, although it wasn’t always like that.

When Mauricio Pochettino joined Tottenham he made Eric Dier one of his first signings at White Hart Lane. The Argentine saw something in Dier that other top Premier League bosses didn’t see, and whilst it was a huge gamble bringing the unproven, unheard of 20-year-old to North London, it was one that paid off.

Initially, Dier (valued at £36m by Transfermarkt) was used as a right-back and as a centre-back in his first season at the club as Pochettino led the Lilywhites to a 5th placed finish in the Premier League, little did the Spurs fans know, though, that there was about to be a big change from their bit-part defender.

The following season saw Tottenham lose on the opening day to Manchester United at Old Trafford, however, Pochettino had reinvented Dier and opted to start the versatile young defender in midfield, a decision that has proven to be a brilliant one from the Pochettino as Dier has gone from strength to strength.

From that moment on, Dier proved his worth as a defensive midfielder, sitting in front of a strong centre-back partnership of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld and it wasn’t long until he started to make his mark, scoring a wonderful low driven effort against Manchester City in a 4-1 that really got Tottenham’s season started.

In a season that will always be remembered for the brilliance of Leicester City, the 2015/16 season saw Eric Dier switch from being a fringe player at Tottenham, getting games here and there wherever Pochettino was short in defence, to becoming a much more established first-teamer, striking up quite the partnership with Mousa Dembele in midfield.

This season is Dier’sthird having made his tactical switch to midfield and he’s yet to look back, whilst he’s not always in the headlines due to the nature of his role, he very rarely lets the fans down and his recent display against Spain for England showed just what he was capable of, with a crunching tackle on Sergio Ramos setting the pace on the night.

Tottenham will do well to keep Dier in the coming weeks as the midfielder is sure to have his suitors, with Barcelona recently declaring an interest in signing the Tottenham man via TeamTalk. It seems Ernesto Valverde sees Dier as a potential long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets and that would never have been the case had Pochettino not decided to reinvent the former Sporting defender in midfield.

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