Eric Dier could be forgiven for rubbing his eyes in disbelief as he goes into his first tournament with England. A year ago he was just breaking into the Tottenham Hotspur side – now he is a key player in Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016-bound squad.
“It’s great,” the 22-year-old said. “I’m excited, I’m just looking at it as a great experience. I’m excited to go there now and see what it’s like and just enjoy it.
“Football’s a crazy game, you never know what’s going to happen, but as I got older and older I opened my eyes more to this kind of opportunity and realised more and more that it could be a possibility,” he added of his rapid rise with Sporting Lisbon before he joined Tottenham in 2014. “But for it to come as soon as it has, I could never have expected it, so I’m just delighted to be [going to France] and hopefully I can take part.”
Dier was happy England notched up three wins out of three in Euro 2016 warm-ups but knows there is room for improvement. “Obviously it’s nice to come away from our third game with three victories,” he said. “We played well but we can play better and obviously that’s exciting going in to France. It’s all about patience but at the same time being aggressive with the ball, moving it quickly and creating gaps, so we’ll learn from that.”
The Tottenham player felt it may have been good practice for England in their last warm-up match to have faced only 10 men because he suspects opponents in France may sit deep. “When we had the ball, even when they had 11, they weren’t pressing very high,” he said. “When they had 10 men they were so deep and it’s hard, but it’s good for us to come up against that because maybe that’s what teams will do to us.”
Dier is delighted to be heading to France with a heavy Tottenham presence following their overachieving season in the Premier League. The midfielder is joined by Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose in the squad – and probably in the starting XI. “It’s great,” he said. “And it’s thoroughly deserved for the season all five of us had at Tottenham. Every single one of us deserves it. It’s great to be playing with them for England. It’s all a bit crazy, isn’t it? But we enjoy playing together like we do at Tottenham, it’s just the same here.”