Surely sooner or later, the Spurs dugout will realise that Eric Dier just isn’t a central defender, right?
It has long been his preferred position and after playing the bulk of his career in North London in midfield, he was finally granted that wish towards the latter stages of the Mauricio Pochettino era.
Although, he’s enjoyed the bulk of his time at centre-back under Jose Mourinho, and now interim boss Ryan Mason.
Yet recurring defensive mistakes and errors have been the one defining theme in Tottenham’s miserable campaign. It cannot be a coincidence with Dier regularly featuring at the back.
“Don’t make me please speak too much about the defensive mistakes that we made,” an agitated Mourinho pleaded to reporters after their FA Cup defeat to Everton, where they leaked five goals. “Because that’s obvious, and I don’t feel very comfortable to be speaking about it.”
Dier may not have featured that day but he has been involved in similar outcomes – the three goals conceded against Liverpool, both Manchester clubs, Dinamo Zagreb and now Leeds United.
Mourinho clearly had doubts himself as he ended up using over 16 different defensive combinations before his fateful sacking, and there was a string of six successive games which saw him drop his first-choice, Dier, from the starting XI.
Interestingly, they lost just once in that run.
Dier was up to his old tricks once again on Saturday afternoon. He was graded an embarrassing 3/10 by football.london reporter Alasdair Gold and given the most scathing of reviews.
‘A tough afternoon for the player up against Bamford and was at fault for his goal as he was caught watching the ball as the Leeds ace nipped ahead of him to net. Not a good game at all from the England international in front of Gareth Southgate.’
On top of his statue-like defending, it was his woeful headed clearance that saw the home side clinch all three points as it came straight back for an easy third.
Danny Mills, on commentary for talkSPORT, described it as a “defensive calamity” and that’s certainly one word to describe Dier being a regular in defence for the club.
Many can lambast the performances of say, a Sergio Reguilon, who just has not looked the same since his injury but it is leaders like Dier that need to step up and be counted – he’s just not doing that. If anything, he is holding Spurs back when playing centre-back.
The £26m-rated star has attracted interest from Mourinho’s new club, AS Roma, this week, according to The Sun – to quote Albert Einstein, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
By all means, if Mourinho wants that major problem to follow him to the Italian capital, then Daniel Levy ought to consider a fair price.
It’s time for Mason to do himself, and the club, a huge favour. He must be ruthless and axe the £85k-per-week liability from his starting XI in the final few games of the season.