By Noel Whelan

11th Nov, 2022 | 5:18pm

Eric Dier backed for new role as 'massive' Tottenham claim issued - pundit

Eric Dier’s “massive improvement” under Antonio Conte at Tottenham means he should start for England, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and Coventry City forward also suggested Dier could be deployed in midfield if Delcan Rice and Kalvin Phillips are unavailable.

The 28-year-old has featured in all but three of Conte’s Premier League games in charge of Spurs but only won his place in the England squad back for the September internationals.

Gareth Southgate confirmed on Thursday (10 November) that he had made the 26-man squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

Asked whether he deserves to start alongside John Stones at the tournament, Whelan told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “I think so.

“I think we’ve seen a massive improvement in Eric Dier since Conte’s come into the football club.

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“There’s no doubt that he’s been one of the better performers for Tottenham this season and for England when he’s had his opportunity.

“It doesn’t surprise me because you’ve got another player who can play in different positions. He can play in the midfield, as a defensive midfielder and at centre-half.

“You’ve got a player who can adapt to a system that Gareth might need throughout that World Cup with injuries and suspensions.

“Who is to say that Kalvin Phillips might not have another setback? Who is to say that Declan Rice might not get suspended, sent off or injured? You need a player who can play both of those roles.

“He’s not one player covering one base, he’s covering three.”

In other news, Conte deserves an extended ban as “punch” footage emerges at Tottenham.