By Noel Whelan

4th Dec, 2021 | 10:00am

Tottenham news: Dier could become 'world-class' after Hotspur Way claim - pundit

Noel Whelan has claimed Eric Dier could become a “world-class” centre-back at Tottenham under Antonio Conte’s tutelage.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the Italian may have spoken to the 27-year-old to reignite his “fire” at Spurs.

Dier made his third start under Conte in Thursday’s (2 November) 2-0 win over Brentford.

The versatile enforcer has been the anchorman at the heart of a three-man defence since the new manager’s arrival.

After a series of imposing displays, Whelan suggested Dier could become Spurs’ “leader” at the back.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “We all know what a good player Eric Dier is since he’s adapted from that defensive midfield role. He’s gone back to centre-half.

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“They’ve never had a real solid back three though, that’s the problem. Again, they’re not going to have that because of injuries.

“Sometimes you need to have a player that’s going to take the game by the scruff of the neck and be that leader. He needs to be that leader.

“He has been at the club a long time, longer than most of the other centre-halves. This is where you find that leadership, these people that dig their heels in.

“When you’re in the trenches, you want to be with somebody who’s got that fight about them. I think maybe Conte’s has given him that fire, that little bit of belief and confidence that he needs after a chat.

“Hopefully that will continue because we know there’s a real player there in him. He’s very comfortable on the ball. He has had that experience with the ball his feet by playing in midfield.

“We know he’s got the stature, the pace and strength to be fantastic, world-class centre-half. Maybe Conte’s realised that as well and seen that in training and in games. He needs more out of him and last night they got it.”

Dier has played 16 times across all competitions for Spurs this season and is expected to start against Norwich City tomorrow (5 December).

The only game he has not started under Conte was the shock 2-1 defeat to NS Mura.

In other news, Tottenham star “may need surgery” after devastating setback.