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The Big Interview - Eric Dier

Posted on 12 June 2016  - 10:30

After such a fine performance and stunning free-kick in England's Euro 2016 opener against Russia on Saturday night, here's another chance to read Eric Dier's reflections of his incredible journey over the last 11 months in his 'Big Interview', initially published on Friday...

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July 18, 2015 will be a date etched on Eric Dier's footballing life.

That's the day he stepped into a new holding midfield role for the first time at Spurs, a private training match against Reading at Hotspur Way.

Less than a year later, he looks set to swap Reading for Russia, Hotspur Way for the Stade Velodrome and a behind-closed-doors friendly for 65,000 fans in England's Euro 2016 opener.

With some experience of the role at Sporting Lisbon, Eric stepped seemlessly from his right-back and central defensive duties into his new position and was a mainstay of the team in a memorable 2015-16 campaign.

So much so, he started 50 of our 53 matches in all competitions, including 37 of 38 in the Premier League.

His performances earned a call into Roy Hodgson's England squad in November and six months later, with seven caps under his belt, he is already seen as one of the first names on the teamsheet.

And let's not forget a dramatic late winner for the Three Lions against Germany back in March!

Eric has hardly had time to sit back and think about what he's achieved but you get an indication of how grounded he is - not forgetting, he's still only 22 - when he speaks about his last 12 months.

"I can hardly believe that I’m here speaking about the season turning out how it has," he told us before joining up with the England squad. "It’s been an incredible journey from playing those games behind-closed-doors in pre-season to being here now. It’s been amazing."

Below: Celebrations at the Lane

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Have you sat down somewhere quiet and thought about what you've done in the last year?
Eric:
"To be honest, you don’t get a lot of time to think about it. During the season it’s non-stop, game after game and you get on with it. After the goal for England against Germany I was back here training the next day, then Liverpool away, it’s one big game after another and you don’t really get time to think about it. Maybe I’ll think about it later in the summer, when I'm on holiday. It’s been a fantastic season but I’m only 22 and I hope to top this season with better seasons in the future."

What were your personal highlights?
Eric: "It started for me in pre-season playing in the new position, then facing Real Madrid in Munich and playing in the first game of the season at Old Trafford. That was a great moment for me but obviously disappointing to lose. City at home, making my England debut in Spain and then playing France at home. To score against Germany was very special. The 2-1 win at City away was another big moment in our season. United at home, Stoke away. Those were games where we wanted to set the record straight after losing at Old Trafford and then losing at Stoke last season. We wanted to settle the score in those games and they meant a lot. I could pick so many."

Returning to City at home, you scored a vital goal to make it 1-1 just before half-time, we won 4-1 and you then had some strong words afterwards...
Eric: "It was a bit of a turning point for me, playing in a new position against a team like City, playing well and scoring, it gave me belief because lots of people were doubting it at the start of the season. We earned a lot of respect that day. We’ll need to do a lot more now to earn that respect. We don’t want to be a stereotypical side, we want to be our own side, play good, aggressive football and to be respected. We’ve come a long way but there is a lot more we can do."

Do you think the players will be driven by missing out in the title race and how the season ended?
Eric: "Yes, of course. To be so close hurt. It was a tough week after the Chelsea game because when you know it’s gone, that’s when it really sinks in. After the game the lads were saying ‘we need to remember this feeling’ and that’s the feeling we will carry into next season. There are a lot of things we’ll learn from this season and will definitely change next season and on top of that, carry all the great things we’ve done this season into next season. If we mix the two together, hopefully it will be another great season for us."

Below: Celebrations with Dele Alli and Harry Kane after Eric's dramatic late winner in Germany in March

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Finally, what would be be like to step out in England's first game at Euro 2016 (remember, we spoke to Eric before the final 23 for for France was announced...)
Eric: "It would be an amazing achievement for me from where I was at the start of the season. I hope if I’m part of the final squad I can go there and try and get in the starting 11, that would be a fantastic way to finish off the season and the chance to challenge for one of the biggest trophies in football. It would be fantastic to go there and to play with the young lads from Spurs in a young England team that is full of drive and determination at the moment."