Tottenham Hotspur legend Gary Mabbutt has defended Gareth Southgate’s decision to select Eric Dier in his last England squad in an exclusive interview with Football FanCast.
The defender was selected despite a dip in form at club level.
Indeed, Dier was dropped after the 2-1 defeat to West Ham United in February and has not played for the club in the Premier League since.
He has been on the bench for the next six games, of which Spurs have lost just one, and that led to some raised eyebrows when he was picked in Southgate’s squad for the games against San Marino, Albania, and Poland.
Former Premier League striker Charlie Austin took to talkSPORT to claim that it was a classic example of big-club bias, suggesting Dier was only selected because he plays for Spurs.
However, Mabbutt has gone to bat for the Tottenham star, insisting that he has never let Southgate down before, and that the manager believes he has the strength of character to bounce back from his recent club setbacks.
Indeed, £72,000-a-week man Dier has won 45 caps for the Three Lions since his debut in 2015 and has played at both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup.
Mabbutt told FFC: “As a manager I think you look back on players that have done well for you, players who have always been consistent for you, and that you can rely on. Eric Dier, I think has been one of those players for England.
“Certainly when he first got in the side and first made his name in the side, I think he was the number one choice and was a regular for a spell. And it’s always going to happen, players are always going to be having good parts of the season, not so good parts of a season.
“If suddenly you may have a little dip in form that’s down to the individual player. And that’s the strength of character that you’re looking for. Then you look at the players who you’re dealing with, ‘has that player got that strength of character that I need?’
“And when you look a player like Eric Dier, he’s a player that has got that.”