Eric Dier is an “absolute liability” for Tottenham and “should be nowhere near the team” for Wednesday’s Champions League showdown against Ajax, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Leeds United and Coventry City striker told Football Insider that Mauricio Pochettino should partner Moussa Sissoko with Victor Wanyama in central midfield for the semi-final second leg in Amsterdam.
Ajax hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg in London last week, when Sissoko was out injured along with Harry Winks and Mauricio Pochettino elected to deploy three centre-backs behind Wanyama and deploy Dele Alli in a deeper midfield role.
Dier returned to the XI for Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League defeat at Bournemouth as he partnered the fit-again Sissoko in central midfield.
“I wouldn’t play Dier against Ajax, he’s an absolute liability at the moment and you can’t really trust him,” Whelan said. “Wanyama hasn’t played much this season, but he’s starting to get his fitness again, and he gives you power and industry in the middle of the pitch.
“Sissoko has to start, and I’m sure he will, but he needs a reliable partner. Winks would be in there if he was fit, and it’s a shame he’s not as he’s better on the ball than all of them.
“Dier just looks an accident waiting to happen. He was charging around against Bournemouth looking like he could get sent off any moment. He was very reckless and lucky to stay on the pitch. Spurs can’t afford that, so Dier should be nowhere near the team against Ajaz.”
Dier has been a mainstay of the Tottenham team during Pochettino’s five-year reign, but injuries and illness have restricted him to 17 Premier League and just two Champions League starts this season.