Tottenham Hotspur’s midfielder-turned-defender Eric Dier is finally back in the England equation after missing the majority of their Euro 2020 qualifiers last year.
The 26-year-old has started three of the Three Lions’ last four international matches with his absence being in the only friendly of the lot – a 3-0 win over Wales.
However, his performance in their most recent victory over Belgium in the UEFA Nations League is a major cause for concern going into the Premier League’s return.
Jose Mourinho ought to be more worried about Dier’s display than Toby Alderweireld, who was on the receiving end of goals from Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount.
The English colossus was named in a back three, playing alongside former Spurs teammate Kyle Walker and another returning name in Harry Maguire.
There was even a place for another ex-colleague as Kieran Trippier, who played out of position at left wing-back, though Harry Kane was rested until the 66th minute.
However, Dier performed the worst of any England defender, notching a lowly 6.4 rating by SofaScore.
Aside from four clearances and one tackle, the Spurs star also conceded a penalty by foolishly bringing down a rampant Romelu Lukaku in a rather brainless act when he didn’t need to go to ground, whilst he even lost 75% of his duels and lost possession five times.
The Sun gave him a scathing review in their post-game ratings too, they said: “Brainless, clumsy foul on Lukaku to give away penalty after 15 minutes which gave Belgium the lead. Looked jittery from then on and Conor Coady should be disappointed if he is not given a chance in Dier’s place next time out.”
It’s not the first time that Dier has been rather lackadaisical in defence either, think back to the foul on Paul Pogba on football’s return post-lockdown or when fans blasted him for being a “liability” against Everton not too long ago.
Given that Spurs had the second-worst defensive record of any top seven Premier League team last season, Mourinho should certainly be worried by a dip in form, especially as the club have failed to sign additional numbers in central defence despite losing both Jan Vertonghen (free) and Juan Foyth (loan).
Whilst the £19.8m-rated brute probably gets the nod alongside Davinson Sanchez against local rivals West Ham on Sunday, he shouldn’t feel completely comfortable as Spurs’ first-choice starter going forward, not at least with performances as dire as this one.