Speaking to Football Insider, pundit Frank McAvennie has slammed makeshift Tottenham Hotspur defender Eric Dier for his performances this season.
The Lowdown: Dier preferred by Conte…
The Englishman has been a regular under manager Antonio Conte since his appointment in early November, starting every Premier League game barring his spell on the sidelines with a thigh problem (Transfermarkt).
Dier, proving to be a untouchable in Conte’s eleven, has also been praised in parts for his form in the Italian’s back three with club legend Glenn Hoddle particularly singing the international’s praises in December.
There have even been murmurs of a potential England re-call thanks to some of his performances but McAvennie appears to have a different view.
The Latest: McAvennie takes aim…
Speaking to FI, the former West Ham and Celtic striker claims he would love to play against Dier and insists he is not a defender – going on to say Premier League attackers are dominating him.
“Why is Dier still playing as a defender?,” asked McAvennie.
“Don’t kid yourself, you are not good enough. You are not a defender. No wonder Tottenham aren’t keeping clean sheets.
“He’s a midfielder and you can tell whenever he’s trying to defend. He doesn’t have that awareness.
“Look at it this way, if he’s a defender then as a striker I would happily play against him.
“I would fancy my chances up against him now. What must Premier League strikers think?
“They are dominating him, it’s not even close. I don’t know why Tottenham haven’t replaced him.
“No wonder they can’t beat anyone at the moment.”
The Verdict: Justified?
Going by the numbers, a case could be made for criticism aimed at Dier, but McAvennie’s brutal verdict is perhaps slightly harsh.
The 28-year-old ranks outside Tottenham’s top ten performers in terms of average match rating (6.73) and only manages around 0.3 tackles per 90 – the second-lowest out of their entire current squad (WhoScored).
However, Dier has averaged more blocks than any Spurs player with more than 15 Premier League starts whilst also making a higher number of clearances per 90 (4) than all of Tottenham’s regulars (WhoScored).
While there is room for improvement on his part, McAvennie’s words potentially come as a bit too much.
In other news: Tottenham official sent to club as Conte now eyes ‘monster’ player who wanted to join in 2020, find out more here.
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