England were far from impressive during Euro 2016, managing only one win and just four goals before being dumped out of the competition by minnows Iceland in the last-16.
One of the very few silver linings, however, has been Eric Dier's commendable displays during the group stages.
The young defensive midfielder was a solid presence in midfield, seamlessly linking the defence and attack, and the 22-year-old's ability to distribute the ball from the heart of the midfield has been one of his key attributes.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Article continues below
Dier seemed far more comfortable on the ball than most of his teammates, showing a high level of maturity, rarely observed in such a young player.
Even before the commencement of the tournament, the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder proved to Roy Hodgson that he is ready to compete against big teams, after a match-winning performance in a friendly against Germany in Berlin.
Article continues below
Not only was Dier impressive throughout the friendly, he also scored the winning goal in an impressive 3-2 victory for the Three Lions.
Dier's stunning free-kick against Russia in the opening game of the Euros raised the roof at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, despite not being a regular set piece taker for either club or country.
Impressive for Tottenham and England
The versatile player has served Tottenham at various positions on the pitch, including centre-back and predominantly in defensive midfield. Dier was an automatic pick for the national team for the holding midfielder role as a result of his standout performances at White Hart Lane during the past two seasons.
Having graduated from the prestigious Sporting Lisbon academy, the English midfielder joined Spurs in the summer of 2014 and has made 65 appearances for the side from north London over the course of two years.
Dier's calmness on the ball, as well as first touch and ball control, makes him a rare talent, as it is hard to find a defensive midfielder with all these qualities. The young midfielder also possesses a great knack of shooting, and is not afraid to carry the ball on his own.
During his time with Spurs, as well as in the three group stage games, the former Sporting man was often seen to go a step further than simply distributing the ball, to threading passes into decent positions in attack, whereby finding players in good spaces.
He has displayed immaculate vision on multiple occasions and has also shown qualities of a play-maker, further proving his great versatility.
The Tottenham midfielder combines the attacking aspects of the game with his defensive attributes, sharpened during his initial stint as a central defender at White Hart Lane. Often seen to make crucial tackles and interceptions in midfield, Dier is not afraid to get into challenges with opposition players.
Such composure and fearlessness is hard to come by at such an early stage of one's career, and at the ripe age of just 22, the Spurs man has a long career in front of him.
England's Lack of Sharpness And Creativity
Despite making it through to the knockout phase of the Euros, the Three Lions seemed lacklustre in attack, with players such as Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Harry Kane, all failing to make their mark in the tournament.
Out of the four goals scored by the side, two of them were rather scrappy and could have very easily not occurred, and the other was a penalty.
The only credible goal registered by England was the spectacular free kick by Dier, as mentioned earlier. Even without that goal, the Spurs midfielder was arguably England's best player over the four games.
According to the Mirror, German giants Bayern Munich have diverted their attention to the versatile midfielder, following his impressive displays for the national side.
This summer's Euros is the Tottenham midfielder's first appearance in a major international tournament, and if he is able to maintain the same consistency in the future, it could turn out to be the first of several major competitions that Dier is part of as an England international.
Was Eric Dier England's best performer at Euro 2016? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!