Tottenham’s Eric Dier came in for criticism from BBC pundit Noel Whelan following his performance in the 3-2 win away to Newcastle on Sunday evening.
The lowdown: Dier scored own goal but was quick to act in emergency
Spurs seemed to be cruising to victory at St James’ Park before the England international scored a rather laughable late own goal, chesting the ball into his own net in trying to defend a set piece, to leave the visitors’ nerves fraying.
However, he was thankfully quick to alert medical staff to get a defibrillator to a supporter who had required urgent medical attention towards the end of the first half, being jointly awarded Sky Sports‘ Man of the Match with team-mate Sergio Reguilon, who was the first to alert referee Andre Marriner of the incident.
The latest: Whelan not impressed with Dier’s performance
Despite Dier showing proactivity in helping to ensure that the spectator in question received timely medical attention, his performance in the match itself was rather bluntly dismissed by Whelan.
The former Leeds striker told Football Insider: “That own goal was one of the worst ever and the problem with Eric Dier is he makes these mistakes too often.
“For an experienced England international, you have to question whether he is good enough for Tottenham. At times, he looks nowhere near.
“He’s a good competitor and no-one can question his commitment to Tottenham. But, you look at his performances and he is hardly a reliable centre-back at the top level.
“You compare him to Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, Ledley King, that kind of players, and Dier is a long way from that level.”
The verdict: Stats don’t look great but Dier deserves praise
If looking purely at the statistics from Dier’s performance yesterday, it is easy to see where Whelan is coming from.
Aside from the own goal, the 27-year-old – who has started every league game for Spurs under Nuno Espirito Santo – contributed little going forward and did not win a tackle or make an interception (SofaScore). He also received his lowest WhoScored match rating of the season from the win on Tyneside and was criticised for defensive lapses last term, as Whelan highlighted.
Should Eric Dier be in Spurs' first XI?
However, the context of what happened with the stricken spectator at St James’ Park should be considered, and Dier’s alertness in immediately calling for a defibrillator to be brought to the person who needed it made any performance-related shortcomings trivial.
He came good yesterday when it was most needed, and hopefully he can turn around his performances to continue receiving Man of the Match awards for more typical reasons.
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