Eric Dier, a 20-year-old English centre back, plies his trade for the same club the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Nani did, Sporting Lisbon. The promising defender moved to Portugal at a young age, and soon after he was spotted by Sporting scouts.
Despite an initial language and cultural barrier, Dier is now very much part of the Sporting setup. The Englishman has progressed from the bottom all the way to the top of the club’s hierarchy.
He began playing with the U15s, which he was also the captain of for two seasons. The Cheltenham native was then promoted two more times to the U17 squad and the U19 squad. Currently, Dier is on the cusp of securing a spot on the first team.
The teenager made 12 appearances for the Portuguese outfit this past season. Dier competed against internationally capped players, like Marcos Rojo, for a spot in Sporting’s back line.
Although Dier, for some mysterious reason, had not been on the radar of the Football Association for a long time, the Portuguese Football Federation had been in contact with Dier in hopes of persuading him to become a Portuguese international.
Despite the Portuguese Football Federation’s interest, Dier remained determined to attract the attention of the FA.
As a well-rounded defender, Dier would provide the FA with an immense physical presence at the back. His decent pace, heading ability, and tackling ability, which will only improve as he gains more experience, are other promising aspects of Dier’s game.
However, the most important benefit Dier would bring the English setup is his culturally contrasting style of football. Dier would bring a mix of the Portuguese and English style of play.
Dier is one of the few Englishmen to successfully play outside of England. At a time when the FA is trying to rebuild its squad, Dier should surely be included as well.
Hopefully - especially after England’s failure to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup - the FA will no longer underestimate Dier and seriously consider his talent.
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