Just how far has Eric Dier progressed under Mauricio Pochettino?

After Dier leads England out against Germany, how much does he owe to the work of manager Mauricio Pochettino?

Just how far has Eric Dier progressed under Mauricio Pochettino?
Dier has been a crucial player in Pochettino's revolution at Spurs (Photo: Getty Images/Ian Kington)

At the age of only 23, on Friday Eric Dier became England's youngest captain since Michael Owen led the squad out back in 2003. 

Born in Cheltenham, raised in Lisbon - Dier moved to the Portuguese capital city at the age of only seven. He made a name for himself out there and quickly caught the attention of the Premier League giants. 

Now into his fourth season at Tottenham, Dier has played a critical role in the Lilywhite's recent progression. However, just how far has Dier come along in the past few seasons?

Good first impression

Dier joined Spurs in the 2014/15 season from Sporting CP as a centre-back. In his first two league games, he started at the back and scored in each game. Notably, on his debut, he found himself in the West Ham box in the last minute of the game - rounding Adrian and scoring the winner. 

Dier's ability to hold his own further up the pitch was evident from his first game at Tottenham, regardless of his age it was clear that Mauricio Pochettino had a great deal of trust in the youngster. 

Despite his great start to life in London, Dier struggled to nail down his best position - frequently he featured at right-back. One thing that was clear was just how adaptable he was to a number of positions. 

Making his mark

Going into the 2015/16 season, came the signing of the classy centre-back Toby Alderweireld. However, this would not push Dier out of the team - instead, it just pushed him further up the field.

Pochettino saw Dier as the obvious choice as the second defensive midfielder for Tottenham's transformation to the 4-2-3-1 formation.

His transition from defence to midfield was seamless, at no point did he look out of his depths - in fact, he looked even more comfortable. 

Dier's technical ability came more into play further up the field. His ability to break the opposition's attack up was brilliant and then to help turn defence into attack was key - along with his ability to allow Mousa Dembele to roam the midfield freely. 

However, what was most impressive about Dier's move to midfield was his just how advanced his footballing brain was for a 21-year-old. He was aware of his role in the squad, he was there to help the defence and instinctively dropped back as a third centre-back at times.

Also, Dier's sheer passion on the field was second-to-none. If there was a ball to be won - there was only going to be one winner. However, it could be seen as his only drawback in the 2015/16 season. Dier picked up 10 yellow cards that season. In particular, the disastrous 2-2 draw against Chelsea, along with many others saw Dier lose his head when things went against him. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

International duty 

Dier has now made 22 caps for England, he has featured heavily in that time - establishing himself as one of the first on the team sheet. At a time where international football for England seems to be going through a phase of transformation, Dier looks set to lead the midfield for years to come.

In a poor overall Euro 2016 campaign, Dier was one of the only few glimmers of hope. An excellent freekick against Russia caught the nation by surprise as many probably did not realise he had it in him.

Moreover, an injury-time header secured a win against rivals Germany in 2016. Despite his young age, Dier looks to have nailed down a starting position for the international side. His passion to play for England is clear to see and really sets the example for how every player should view international duty. 

On the verge

With the introduction of Victor Wanyama in the summer of 2016, Dier's position seemed at risk. However, with such versatility he was never going to sit on the sidelines for long.

The beauty of a player like Dier is his ability to slot in a multiple of positions seamlessly. With injuries to players like Alderweireld and Dembele over the course of the season, Dier played a crucial role in getting Spurs to their highest ever Premier League finish. 

At the end of the season, Spurs finished another season without a trophy. With this came much transfer speculation surrounding their players - Dier found himself at the centre of this.

Jose Mourinho's Manchester United seemed his imminent destination. However, Pochettino was reluctant to let go of such a crucial player and Dier was convinced to stay at the Lilywhite's. 

After an unsettled summer, Dier has returned to Spurs and has featured heavily in the early stages of the 2017/18 season. His future is in his own hands as a player with huge ability and immense passion for the game under the guidance of Pochettino - could Dier be England's next permanent captain?