Feelings of negativity, uncertainty and bewilderment are beginning to take hold of Tottenham Hotspur as the club prepare to face Inter Milan at the San Siro this evening.
Football is a funny old game; one day Tottenham are being lauded as a compelling counter-attacking side containing the tools needed for a Premier League title challenge after winning 3-0 at Old Trafford, and just three weeks later they find themselves in the midst of a media frenzy with almost every individual – including Mauricio Pochettino – being questioned in the British media.
Pochettino’s pre-match decision to omit both Kieran Trippier and Toby Alderweireld will dominate the pre-match narrative, but there are other talking points worth discussing after Tottenham’s alarmingly flat performance against Liverpool on Saturday.
Indeed, Eric Dier’s slow start to the season culminated with an abject performance against Liverpool and Ray Parlour delivered his verdict on the 24-year-old whilst speaking on talkSPORT on Monday
The former Arsenal player openly suggested that Dier is well suited to a role in central defence rather than midfield before stating “I don’t know what he really brings to the midfield if I’m being honest”.
Although Dier is certainly capable of doing a job in a midfield anchor role, it’s fair to say that his shortcomings in that position are becoming increasingly apparent.
His lack of pace when turning and failure to combine defensive solidity with forward thinking dynamism are two factors which suggest he is more naturally suited to a role in central defence.
Sure, Dier certainly has a decisive through ball in his locker and when he reaches top form his intelligent positioning and ability to read the game are enough to ensure his physical shortcomings do not pose a problem, but whilst Spurs are struggling for balance and consistency it would be wise for Pochettino to drop him into the defence.
The likes of Harry Winks and Victor Wanyama are returning to full-fitness and their collective presence should be enough to convince Pochettino to make a change in his midfield if Dier’s performances do not dramatically improve in the near future.
Parlour was right to suggest that Dier is struggling to meet the standard that is required to operate in central midfield and it’s time for Pochettino to recognise that by deploying him in central defence and trusting either Winks or Wanyama to sit in front of the defence.
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