When Eric Dier first broke into the Tottenham team, he offered protection for the defence, the ability to get around the pitch, reliable passing and versatility.
Yet, starting with the World Cup in the summer; where he netted the winning penalty in that famous shoot-out win but offered little else, his form has slowly regressed.
So far this term, he has looked ponderous on the ball and lacking mobility to go and win it back. That is less than ideal for a player in his position and Spurs’ current injury crisis robs Mauricio Pochettino of the opportunity to leave him out too often.
Yet, there are signs of life. He was understandably left out of the side for the 4-2 defeat to Barcelona but actually added substance when he came on.
Spurs laboured to a 1-o win over Cardiff on Saturday but Dier netted the winner from close range. The Englishman must use that to belatedly kickstart his season.
In that sense, the international break has probably come at the wrong time for him. Just as Dier would like the opportunity to build on that performance for Spurs, he will likely find himself behind Jordan Henderson at international level.
When he gets back, he must use that Cardiff goal to continue to improve his form.