Jose Mourinho must realise that time is up for Eric Dier in the Tottenham Hotspur defence after he won just one duel in England’s UEFA Nations League defeat away to Belgium on Sunday night.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate awarded Dier a starting role against the top-ranked men’s international side as part of a raft of changes to the line-up which beat the Republic of Ireland, marking the 26-year-old’s 44th cap since 2015.
Dier was unable to help prevent England succumbing to a second defeat of the campaign, ensuring the Three Lions can finish no higher than third in Group A2 following October’s 1-0 loss to second-placed Denmark at Wembley.
Mourinho has entrusted Dier with regular minutes in Spurs’ 2020/21 campaign thus far, with the £19.8m-rated enforcer opening all six Premier League fixtures to have been available to him at centre-half.
But the Portuguese tactician must realise that Dier’s form is on the decline, after earning the second-lowest match-rating by an outfield England player at 6.4 out of 10, per SofaScore.
England’s hope of reaching next year’s Nations League Finals was ended on Sunday through goals from Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans and SSC Napoli’s Dries Mertens in the opening 23-minutes, despite the Three Lions registering twice as many efforts on goal and enjoying 55% of the possession.
The Red Devils were pegged back in their own territory for much of the second half, too, but when called upon, the England defence could not be relied on to prevent Southgate becoming the first Three Lions manager since Sven-Goran Eriksson to lose 10 games in charge.
Dier played a key role in the result edging in the host’s favour, having failed to register a single successful tackle or block a shot, while making just one interception, two clearances and one duel.
His sole duel of the night came in the air, which he won, but Dier did not contest a single ground duel and lost possession 13 times, misplaced 17% of his 72 passes – including six of 11 long balls – and offered zero efforts on Belgium’s goal.
Dier’s futile performance for England was not his first of the season, either, as Mourinho claimed he committed a crime by fielding the 26-year-old at centre-half in September’s narrow shoot-out win over London rivals Chelsea in the EFL Cup.
“In this moment, we can face a team that has different systems and it doesn’t matter how they come, the players know what to do, they know the differences and what they have to adapt,” Mourinho said, via quotes by HITC.
“So, the team is getting in conditions to play. Yesterday was not really strategic, it was more trying to build a team with the players that we had, let’s say available for the game, trying not to commit crimes and I only committed one and that was to play Dier.”
Mourinho may find himself committing another crime if he entrusts Dier with starting for Tottenham in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City, with a win at home to Pep Guardiola’s side enough to move top of the table before Liverpool host Leicester on Sunday.