Eric Dier’s consistent presence at the base of Tottenham’s midfield has received mixed reviews by Tottenham supporters, but Jose Mourinho has no intention of decreasing the Englishman’s responsibilities.
Since returning from complications after an emergency appendectomy, Dier is slowly returning to the player he was. Dier endured a nightmare year, continually falling ill after having his appendix out a year ago.
While still nowhere near back to his best, Dier is showing signs of returning to prominence. Since coaching Manchester United, Jose Mourinho has always supported Dier ardently, enjoying thoroughly the indispensable characteristics he brings to the pitch. Mourinho wanted to buy Dier back then and has every intention of building a side around him now.
Since returning consistently to Tottenham’s midfield, Dier has suffered from inconsistency, sluggishness and a disconcerting bout of wayward passing. Spurning possession recklessly has been a trademark of Dier’s return to the heart of midfield.
But for all his temporary shortcomings, Dier offers something no other player at the club does. He offers a leadership presence in the most important area of the park. He protects his back four in a stoic, often thankless manner. He is, when playing mistake-free football, a stable force.
The Englishman is sound positionally, understands acutely how to defend and is brilliant in the air. Like a blocker for a quarterback, Dier provides Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sánchez a necessary buffer, an unheralded insurance plan.
Dier captained his side in Munich on Wednesday to a rather muted effect. But even though he didn’t have one of his best performances, it offered yet another glimpse of how highly his manager regards him. He has all the qualities of a captain. Admittedly, though, he is a work in progress and needs time to return to his pre-appendectomy form.
Spurs supporters need to be patient with Dier. He has the ability to dominate that position. Wayward passing, carelessness and sluggishness are all side effects on long-term absences from the game. The good news is those side effects can, with time, work and support from his teammates gaffer, be overcome.
Nobody in Tottenham’s midfield offers the intangibles Dier does. So let’s provide the Dier with the patience he requires to get back to his former self. Let’s trust that Mourinho knows what he’s doing and believe in Dier, knowing in time he’ll reach his full potential.
In that eventuality all outcomes are on the table, even one that has him captaining Spurs permanently one day.