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Eric earning his stripes

Posted on 12 February 2015  - 12:00

For a lad who only turned 21 a fortnight ago, Eric Dier is proving on and off the pitch that he has an old head on young shoulders.

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The versatile defender has found himself back in the first team fold in recent matches, striking up a useful centre-half partnership with the commanding Jan Vertonghen as we’ve waged battle on a number of fronts.

Eric played his part as we reached the Capital One Cup final - starting both legs against Sheffiled United - and was there again for the memorable win against Arsenal.

He then experienced the other side of football's coin in Tuesday night's narrow loss at Anfield, where he was left with a bloody nose late on for his efforts.

It’s all added up to an eventful few weeks for a player whose season so far has come in stages. The Cheltenham-born defender exploded onto the scene in unexpected circumstances in August, scoring in our first two Premier League games of the season against West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers - having been immediately inserted into the senior picture a matter of weeks after arriving from Sporting.

Indeed, after moving to Portugal as a child and coming up through the ranks at the Lisbon giants, it was a dramatic introduction to top flight football in England and one that he built on with a series of solid performances at right-back as the campaign went on.

A spell out of the side followed, with Eric playing just four times between the beginning of November and the middle of January, but, by his own admission, it’s all been part of a journey he’s happy to be on.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here so far,” said Eric, who also recently marked his 50th senior career appearance.

“I think I was lucky to get off to such a good start and that made things a bit easier for me but then I went through a bit of a tough period at one stage, which I think is normal for any young player - especially in English football where it’s so unforgiving.

“If you make a mistake here, you pay for it. I know I’m young and it’s inevitable to make a few errors, but I’ve learned so much over the last six months and hopefully I can use that experience for the rest of the campaign and obviously on into the future.

“I know that when I get a chance in the team I’ve got to take it and I’ve been happy with the way I’ve adapted as the season has gone on. Even when I was not playing I was working hard in training and just waiting for another chance.”