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Gareth Southgate goes and makes claim about Eric Dier straight after calling him back into the England squad
Photo by Rob Newell - CameraSport via Getty Images

Gareth Southgate goes and makes claim about Eric Dier straight after calling him back into the England squad

England manager Gareth Southgate has praised Tottenham Hotspur defender Eric Dier after his international recall.

Dier has not played for his country since the 4-0 win over Iceland in November 2020, having gone to World Cup 2018.

He has been an option in defence and midfield for the Three Lions and is currently shining at the heart of a back three for Antonio Conte’s side.

Southgate likes having the option to play a three-man backline too, and has another specialist in that formation in the shape of Conor Coady in the squad too.

Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

England boss Southgate on recalled Dier

Southgate has spoken to England’s official website about his squad selection, but will not conduct a press conference.

He said: “This is a bigger than normal squad and part of the rationale is that we are very close to a World Cup and we feel, although our results were disappointing in the summer, we have picked on the basis of form and capability over a long period.

“Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club.

“It is not ideal, but we feel they have been, and can be, important players for us. It is not a perfect situation but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.

“With Eric Dier, he has been playing well for a period of time. We think it is a really close call across our centre-backs and he has deserved to be picked back in the group. We know what a good character he is. He fits in with the culture and has great international experience and leadership qualities.”

Some Spurs fans might have wondered why it has taken so long for Dier to get back into the England squad, but he is there now and will get the chance to impress before the World Cup.

It remains to be seen if the months ahead will shake Southgate’s faith in stalwarts like the namechecked Maguire, or if the likes of Ben White will come back into the picture.

It is a close battle at the heart of the defence but the way Dier is playing must give him every chance of going to the World Cup for the second iteration in a row.

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