Despite a season so far of disappointing personal performances and turgid team displays, one of the bright spots has been Eric Dier.
Not to say that he solved our defensive issues (we barely set the world on fire in that department), but what impressed me was how calm he looked in a back four, but mostly in back three – the system that was used under Antonio Conte.
Of course, center-backs are naturally more protected when accompanied by two others, but there has been a noticeable difference in Dier’s poise lately.
The most telling statistic of all, to prove this point, is the number of tackles he’s made. Emerson Royal leads the camp with 36 tackles in the league this season.
How many tackles did Eric Dier make? Three. Just three. This is the fourteenth on the list of all Spurs players.
Some may see it as confusing, but for me it shows just how less reckless Dier has been this season. Last year in particular, he felt like it was an accident waiting to happen.
One moment that comes to my mind is its inexplicable tackle on Timo Werner, which gave Chelsea a penalty and was decisive when we met in February.
But this season he has clearly stepped away from risky personal situations. Far from putting himself under pressure, whether under the influence of Antonio Conte, Nuno Espirito Santo, or just himself, I think he’s gone deeper and he’s adjusting his game to his advantage. focusing on his best attributes.
One need only look at the clearance statistics within the club to see how much emphasis Dier places on being the “last line of defense”.
He made a huge 54 permissions in the league this season, it’s 19 more than any other player on the team. It might sound simple, but I think this season our number 15 is thinking about stopping goals, and that’s it. And that can only be a good thing.
The next step for Dier is to tighten his forward pass. Back in his days as a midfielder, he was not only good at breaking play and putting a foot down, but also being a proficient passer.
It is understandable that it could be rusty in this department. And if he gains more confidence in this aspect of his game, he will impress even more.
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