Eric Dier: “You have to constantly want to improve - I can improve a lot more”
Thu 26 April 2018, 13:30|Tottenham Hotspur
Eric Dier has played in 144 of our last 157 matches. It’s an outstandingly consistent record he’s rightly proud of at the top level of English football and one he wants to continue.
Of course, there have been ups and downs in his 144 matches - some wonderful Premier League and Champions League performances and results, League Cup and semi-final defeats - but more ups, one would suggest, as we all recover from the hammer blow of an FA Cup semi-final defeat against Manchester United at Wembley last weekend.
As the figures state, Eric has been a staple in a Spurs team that has finished third and then second in the Premier League and now bids to qualify for the Champions League for the third successive season.
England recognition has followed in that time and Eric looks likely to represent the Three Lions in his second major tournament at this summer’s World Cup. Already capped 25 times and already a captain of his country, Eric played in all four matches in Euro 2016, scored and then lost out to Iceland. Ups and downs...
Below: Eric in action in our 1-1 draw against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu
It’s been nothing but ‘ups’ in terms of Eric's career though since announcing his arrival at Spurs in style with that dramatic late winner at West Ham on his debut back in August, 2014.
“I’m very proud of that record,” said Eric, 24, after training on Wednesday.
“I feel in my first season when I was younger and had just come in from Portugal that I struggled at times keeping up with the Premier League. I was in and out of the team but I learned a lot that season and adapted.
“I had to make changes and did in many areas to keep a consistent level throughout the demands of a whole season.
“I feel like I’ve grown with this team from when I arrived and lots of players probably feel the same way as we’ve all grown together at the same time and all gone through the same stages with the team.
“The attitude you need to have is to constantly want to improve and work hard to improve in every aspect you can. There are so many aspects to football and you can improve in all of them.
“I believe this season, last season and the season before that my improvement has been good but at times it could be better. I can still improve a lot more and I want to improve a lot more. I feel I can still reach a much higher standard.”
Below: Eric with Kieran Trippier at Hotspur Way
What areas was he looking at particularly? “I have to improve in every area if I want to reach the highest level, wherever it is I play position-wise," he added.
“I need to keep improving and I believe I can, so it’s up to me to keep working hard and keep trying to improve and reach the highest level I can. I’m 24 now, I feel like I’ve a few years ahead of me where I can do that.
“You can improve every year until you retire. If you look at the standard Jan Vertonghen is playing at now, it’s incredible. He’s the best centre-back in the Premier League. He’s just turned 31. You can constantly improve and constantly get better and I’ve got to keep trying to do that.”
It would be remiss of us not to mention the emotions after the FA Cup semi-final defeat, not least after seeing how despondent the players were at Wembley.
“We’ve set ourselves high standards and everyone involved from the staff, the players and of course the fans are all disappointed that we’ve got to this point of the season with four games left and the last chance we had to win a trophy has gone, that’s difficult to take,” said Eric.
Below: Eric dejected at Wembley
“We all want to win trophies and to have not won one after these four seasons together is really disappointing. That’s football and now we have to finish the season strongly and look to the future.
“For the Club to get Champions League football again is so important and that’s what we’re aiming to do by the end of the season. We deserve it and we need to show that in the next four games to earn the right to play in the Champions League next season.
“That’s the standard and the level the Club is at now and where we deserve to be.”
We take on Watford in the Premier League at Wembley on Monday evening - tickets on general sale...