Antonio Conte compares Tottenham star Eric Dier to Italy legend Leonardo Bonucci
Conte has taken Dier’s game to a whole new level this season. The Englishman has been fantastic, so much so that he received a call-up to the England squad this week for their games against Italy and Germany.
Antonio Conte compares Eric Dier to Leonardo Bonucci
Dier hasn’t been in the England setup for about two years now. The Englishman, signed from Sporting Lisbon for £4 million in 2014 (BBC), has been unlucky at times to not get a call-up, but nobody can complain about his selection this time around.
Conte is absolutely delighted with the news this week, but he has made it clear to Dier that this is just the start. He wants the Englishman to improve even more and has warned the 28-year-old that he’ll be ‘very angry’ if that doesn’t happen.
The Italian said, as per the Evening Standard: “If you compare him with some of these important central defenders, don’t forget Eric started his career as a midfielder. In modern football, it means you can use him as a central defender but also as a No 4.
“With the ball, Bonucci can be a really good example for him. But Bonucci did a lot in his career. Eric has just started this process, but for sure Leo is a really good example for him because we are talking about an important player. He won a lot with Juventus and the national team. I hope Eric can have this type of career.
“I felt from the first moment the possibility this player had to become a really top defender. But I repeat for him this has to be only the start. Otherwise, I will be very angry with him.
“The first step for him is to be called up again for the national team, and give him a lot of credit because he worked a lot, but for him, that has to be just the start. He has to perform game by game to deserve to play for the national team and ensure he doesn’t betray me.”
Dier will be over the moon after his England call-up, and it’s now completely down to him to secure a place in the squad for the World Cup in November.
The Tottenham man has been absolutely incredible this season. An argument can even be made that he has been the best English centre-half in the Premier League since the start of the campaign, and he completely deserves his call-up.
Conte, however, is spot on. Dier can’t just rest on his laurels now, he has to continue to improve. He’s still a long way away from being anywhere close to someone like Bonucci, but he does have the potential to become a great defender, especially if he listens to his manager.
It will be interesting to see how Dier fares for England if he gets a chance next week. We’re sure Conte will be watching.
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