The official website for European football

Dier adds fresh flavour to England mix

Published: Wednesday 11 July 2012, 11.54CET
England defender Eric Dier told UEFA.com that he is enjoying being part of an international squad for the first time and wants the adventure to continue all the way to the final.
by Paul Bryan
from Tallinn
Dier adds fresh flavour to England mix
England's Eric Dier at the team headquarters in Tallinn ©Sportsfile
Published: Wednesday 11 July 2012, 11.54CET

Dier adds fresh flavour to England mix

England defender Eric Dier told UEFA.com that he is enjoying being part of an international squad for the first time and wants the adventure to continue all the way to the final.

Ahead of England's UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-final with Greece in Tallinn on Thursday, defender Eric Dier believes the Three Lions are ready to realise their full potential.

Noel Blake's side progressed to their third semi-final in the last four editions with a 2-1 victory against France on Monday that sent the 2009 runners-up through as Group B winners. For Sporting Clube de Portugal central defender Dier, the next goal is clear.

"We want to win and we want to improve," the 18-year-old told UEFA.com. "We did well against France. We had a job to do and executed our game plan. Our objective was to finish top of the group and we managed to achieve that. Having said that, we know we haven't reached our full potential yet and we want to put on an even better showing in the semi-final."

Dier is the only member of the England squad playing abroad and has become accustomed to questions about how he ended up in Portugal. "My family decided to move to the Algarve when I was seven – the original decision had nothing to do with football," he explained. "We are a big family and the weather there suits a bigger family better. We then went to Lisbon because my mother got a job that was connected to [UEFA] EURO 2004."

Once there, Dier began to adapt to his new surroundings and his talent on the football field was spotted by his physical education teacher, whose connections at Sporting led to a two-day trial. "I went along and obviously never looked back but it was hard at the start," he said. "When I was nine or ten it was difficult for me to be accepted by the group. I was on the verge of leaving but my dad, my sister and my mum stopped me from doing that and I am really grateful that they did.

"After the first two seasons my Portuguese was perfect. I became captain of the team and the players began to see me as one of them, which made it so much easier for me. I was Portuguese to them."

Dier spent the last 18 months on loan at Premier League club Everton FC and found the experience beneficial despite being unable to break into the first team. "Some people definitely got the impression that I wasn't happy there but I wasn't expecting to be playing," he said. "I knew what I was going to Everton to do and in the end it was a very positive experience for me.

"That loan has finished now and I am going back to Sporting where I will look to nail down a place in the B team and do my best to catch the eye of the first-team coach [Ricardo Sá Pinto]."

One coach he is already impressing is England's Noel Blake, whom Dier describes as "brilliant". "I like the way he works with everyone. He really communicates with you as a player. Tactically we are good at sticking to the plan that the manager sets out. We gel well as a team." Greece have been warned.

Last updated: 12/07/12 9.21CET

Related information

Player profiles
Member associations
Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/under19/news/newsid=1840492.html#dier+adds+fresh+flavour+england

  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA European Under-19 Championship logo and trophy are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.