Cape Town - Mauricio Pochettino credits himself for spotting Eric Dier's
potential as a midfielder and then creating a system in which the player
Despite starting his career at Spurs as a centre-back, Dier has found
himself playing in front of the back-four in a holding role for Spurs -
a position he now also occupies for England.
Amidst talk of interest from Manchester United, the Tottenham Hotspur
manager spoke with reporters about the route he and the Spurs coaching
staff took with getting the best out of the 23-year old.
"We provided all the tools to be a Premier League player. My first
game in charge against West Ham, he started as a centre back, next to
(Younes) Kaboul. Kyle Naughton got a red card, he moved to full-back and
scored," Pochettino said.
"That season, he played like a full back, like a centre back but never as a midfielder.
"Then in the summer, we were looking for a midfielder and we had
plenty of options, but I decided to play Eric in midfield," the
"I created a system that he felt comfortable in. He played like a
midfielder without the ball, but with the ball he was a third centre
"You can see in possession he dropped in between the centre backs or
between the full back and the centre back, and always we play with
three," he added.
"People say now Chelsea changed the system, but no we played always
the three in possession. Out of possession, Eric moved in front and
without the ball he tried to press and play like a midfielder.
"Then we signed Wanyama and played both, but we had some injuries
like Toby (Alderweireld) and Jan (Vertonghen), and Eric was the perfect
player to play as a centre back.
"That is a good thing for the player, the possibility to play in
different positions and do well in every one," the 45-year old
Spurs next face a tricky trip to Burnley in their quest to secure Champions League football, where they will face Sean Dyche's men who hold a strong home record at Turf Moor.
Kick off is at 16:00.