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Sites & Languages

Tue 13 September 2022, 09:30|Tottenham Hotspur

Eric Dier is back in Lisbon, his family and footballing home for the best part of 13 years.

Not surprisingly, having come through the Academy system to represent the first team at Sporting Club de Portugal, the Lions of Lisbon, Eric is expecting emotions to be running high when he steps out again at the place he used to call home, the Jose Alvalade Stadium, for our UEFA Champions League Group D, MD2 fixture this evening (Tuesday, 5.45pm).

He’s already had a look back inside the stadium, a brief visit for media duties after landing in Lisbon on Monday. That’s when he caught up with SPURSPLAY, and here’s what he had to say...

Tell us about your life here in Lisbon...

Eric: “It’s the only club I know outside of Tottenham. I was here from eight-years-old until I signed for Tottenham (aged 20 in 2014). It’s the place I grew up, I broke into the first team here and spent two years here before I moved to Tottenham. It’s the place I owe everything, really.”

Why were your family out in Lisbon?

Eric: “You’ll have to ask my parents! I don’t know. I’ve read about it being connected with Euro 2004, but that’ not true. We moved here as a family, I was playing football at my school, someone saw me and brought me to Sporting. It was really that simple. It’s a special place for me.”

How did you adapt?

Eric: “It was difficult at the beginning, I wasn’t able to speak the language, so that was difficult. When I was young, I needed to be pushed at times because I was uncomfortable. So, that was good for me. I learned the language and became part of the furniture at this club, really, living here for so long, moving to the Academy and living there. Yes, it was difficult for me at times but, ultimately, extremely rewarding.”

Those days no doubt laid the foundation for the Eric Dier we see today…

Eric: “Exactly. I always say I owe a lot to Sporting, not just for the footballer I am today, but also the person as well. They played a huge part in my development as a person and that was something extremely important for every player coming through their Academy. I try to carry the values they taught me every day, along with my parents and my family.”

How does it feel to be back?

Eric: “Yes, great. We’ve just come in via the walkway into the stadium. It’s a walk I’ve done quite a few times! It’s very nice to be back, special for me, we’ve just landed but I’m sure the match will be an emotional one for myself and my family, coming back so long after playing here.”

Finally, what game are you expecting?

Eric: “A very difficult game against a very competitive side, in an atmosphere we’ll have to manage, as well. Obviously, it’s two teams that won their first games, so, we’re expecting a tough game – but we’re here to win it.”

Watch - Eric on SPURSPLAY