Slovakia vs England: 'There is a long way to go until the scars of Euro 2016 have healed,' says Eric Dier
The 22-year-old, a part of the much-maligned squad in France this summer, played the full 90 minutes as Allardyce’s side began their World Cup qualifying campaign with a narrow victory in Trnava, courtesy of Adam Lallana’s last-minute winner.
But Dier insists one success against a nation ranked 24th in the Fifa world rankings is not enough to exorcise the ghost of the round-of-16 defeat by Iceland in Nice, a failure considered by some to be the most humiliating night in the history of English football.
“It is nice to get off to a winning start for us and the manager as we try to put the Euros behind us,” the Tottenham midfielder said. “It is nice to have played another game for England so that the one at the Euros is not the last one now.
“There is a long way to go until the scars have been healed but it is a start. All we can do is win against whoever we have in front of us but I think there is a long way to go before we repay everyone for what happened in the Euros.
“And for ourselves as well because we were the most unhappy of everyone and there is a long way to go until we are happy again.”
Lallana struck in the fifth minute of added-time to delay the inquisition on England’s earlier failure to break down 10-man Slovakia after former Liverpool defender Martin Škrtel had been dismissed for two bookable offences on striker Harry Kane.
England player ratings vs Slovakia
Joe Hart – 6 out of 10
Little to do for the Torino loanee and, one imagines, that is exactly the sort of afternoon Manchester City’s forgotten man needed.
Kyle Walker – 6 out of 10
Galloped down the right-flank with intent but was often found exposed once possession was lost deep into the hosts’ half.
John Stones – 6 out of 10
The Manchester City defender was rarely tested but did look fragile on occasion as Slovak attackers charged at the England back-line in the first-half.
Gary Cahill – 6 out of 10
An inconspicuous display from the Chelsea defender without many mishaps but also lacking in moments for the highlights reel.
Danny Rose – 6 out of 10
Gave the ball away cheaply in the first-half which very nearly surrendered an early goal on Sam Allardyce’s big day.
Eric Dier – 7 out of 10
Provided a well-needed anchor in midfield and cut up play when required but was unable to provide the springboard for forays into the Slovakia half.
Jordan Henderson – 6 out of 10
Was subbed in the second-half, for Dele Alli, after an assured, if unremarkable, display in the first period.
Raheem Sterling – 6 out of 10
Keen to impress, the Manchester City winger was unable to replicate his fine club form on the international stage again – but not for a want of trying.
Wayne Rooney – 6 out of 10
Sat too deep to pose any degree of threat going forwards and often seemed too sanguine whenever he did venture into the final third. Controlled the tempo of the match.
Harry Kane – 6 out of 10
Cut an isolated figure for large periods as Sterling and Lallana struggled to carve out any openings of note during a turgid affair in Trnava.
Adam Lallana – 8 out of 10
Was a menace on the flanks in short intervals and ultimately scored a fine, if slightly fortuitous, winner to get the ball rolling on Allardyce’s new dawn as England boss.
OFF THE BENCH: Daniel Sturridge – 5 out of 10
Was afforded with too little time to make a true impact but nonetheless wasted a chance to be the hero by making a late run for Walcott’s deep cross with moments to spare.
Theo Walcott – 6 out of 10
Spurned a fine opportunity to open the scoring from close range after Lallana’s adventurous shot had hit the post. Woke his team-mates up.
Dele Alli – 7 out of 10
Provided the spark England so badly lacked in the opening exchanges, ultimately leading to an unlikely winner at the end,
Under Roy Hodgson, England endured a stalemate against the Slovaks in Saint-Etienne and history appeared to be repeating itself with Lallana hitting the post while substitutes Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge spurned late opportunities.
“We played them in the Euros (a 0-0 draw) and they are a very well-organised team,” Dier said. “They have been together for a long time with their manager and they have some good players so we knew it was going to be tough.
“The opposition going down to 10 men makes it more difficult sometimes. We probably should have finished the game off by the time we scored the winner and that is one of the things we are going to have to improve on: being that bit more ruthless.”