COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Eric Dier would not be named in Tottenham’s strongest XI if all of their players were available for selection.
Spurs have been dealt with several injury blows this season and manager Mauricio Pochettino has often been without key players.
Dier has been a regular feature in the side this campaign and been deployed in both midfield and defence.
The 22-year-old missed just one Premier League game through suspension last season and was one of the most consistent performers, but his form has dipped since the disappointing European Championships with England.
He built a formidable partnership alongside Mousa Dembele in the midfield, but summer signing Victor Wanyama has proved a great acquisition as a defensive midfielder.
Wanyama and Dembele should start in the midfield roles and add real power to the team, with the latter delivering a man-of-the-match display in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
Dier has also been used as a centre-back this season alongside Jan Vertonghen, with regular option Toby Alderweireld currently sidelined through injury.
Belgian pairing Vertonghen and Alderweireld are widely regarded as the best partnership in the Premier League and should resume their relationship when both fit.
That would leave Dier currently restricted to the bench after his form has dropped from a high standard.
Pochettino did use a formation with three at the back against Arsenal, but has certainly found more luck with his trusted approach of a 4-2-3-1 during his time at White Hart Lane.
Dier is still one of the best young talents emerging for England and Spurs, but may have to improve his form if he is to cement his place a regular starter.
He has made 101 appearances for the north London club since his arrival in 2014 from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon.
Spurs are competing both domestically and in Europe this season and will need a full strength team, which should mean that Dier is still available to continue his development.
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