Eric Dier has named Mousa Dembele as the greatest footballer that he’s ever played alongside.
The former Tottenham Hotspur baller was widely tipped as one of the club’s most talented assets by those who shared a dressing room with him across his six-and-a-half seasons in north London.
And speaking on the High Performance Podcast, Dier clearly shares that opinion as he heaped praise on the Belgian, as well as Jan Vertonghen, for the influence that he had on his own career.
Dier praises Dembele’s impact at Spurs
Dier reflected on his early days at Spurs by saying: “I always credit two guys for me when I was coming up at Tottenham that for me, I feel that I was extremely lucky to have.
“To be in that squad in general, the manager that I had, the squad that we had built, I feel like I was really lucky and not really going down that kind of avenue.
“So Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen, who were at Tottenham and older than me and I recognize that those are the kinda guys I wanna be with that I like the way they lead their lives outside of football.
“Nothing affected them, what other people were doing or that other people living their lives. They were extremely humble.
“I think Mousa Dembele is the best footballer I’ve ever played with and for him to have that humility and yeah, they were like two older brothers to me.
“They really looked after me and I took a lot of advice through them, really just outside of football and the way I wanted to live my life and what I wanted to do with my time, with my money, et cetera.
“So they were two people that I really looked up to and became very close to and helped me massively not go down that avenue that you were talking about, yeah.”
Leicester 2-3 Tottenham Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
The underrated brilliance of Dembele
It’s always interesting to hear of players like Dembele who don’t necessarily leap off the statistic sheets with wild goal and assist tallies, but are so revered by those in the game itself.
And while it would be too far to make direct comparisons between Dembele and Paul Scholes, you can certainly see the similarities in how much their legacies are informed by the respect of peers.
However, as is certainly the case with Scholes too, you only have to do some digging into the video archives to see exactly why key footballing figures are so complimentary of Dembele’s skills.
So, in light of Dier’s eulogising about Dembele, we thought that it would be rude not to reminisce on a player who must go down as one of the Premier League’s finest ever dribblers if nothing else.
Montage of Dembele’s stunning dribbling
And there are few better mediums through which to achieve this than by indulging in a fantastic video of Dembele’s skills on the ball that did the rounds on Twitter in April 2020.
Aptly titled: “Right. No arguments please. This guy is one of the best midfielders dribblers of all time,” the gorgeous compilation is one for the footballing hipsters and purists amongst you.
So, start brewing a cappuccino and slip into your nearest retro jersey and enjoy two minutes of Dembele showing exactly why Dier rates him as his greatest ever teammate in the montage below:
That, ladies and gentlemen, is why they call it the beautiful game.
An underrated Premier League baller
There aren’t necessarily the sort of moments in the video that make you lose your mind, but it’s more about the hypnotic and soothing magnificence that Dembele has with the ball at his feet.
For whatever reason, so few professional footballers ever manage to reach that plane of subtle ease where beating a defender looks like the most natural movement the body could possibly make.
But whatever magic it was that Dembele had in his boots, the sort of technical dribbling that players slave over practicing for years upon years just seemed to come to him like a bodily instinct.
Anyhow, we could go on gushing about Dembele’s elegance until we’re blue in the face, but the moral of the story is that the video evidence shows exactly why Dier rated him so highly.