Dier's English pride
By Nicholas Veevers in Bolton
Wednesday, 30 May, 2012
Defender happy with his first U19s tournament and on picking England over Portugal.
Tickets cost £3 for adults and £1 for concessions
Available at Deepdale on the night
England defender Eric Dier is hoping to round-off his first experience of a full international tournament by helping the Young Lions to top their group and reach the European Championship Finals on Wednesday night.
The Sporting Lisbon ace has been in impressive form over the first two games against Slovenia last Friday and Montenegro on Sunday, showing his versatility by playing at both right-back and in central defence.
Now England go into their third and final game knowing that a victory over Switzerland will give them a fair chance of progressing, depending upon the scoreline from the other match between Montenegro and Slovenia which is taking place simultaneously at Spotland.
England currently hold a two-goal advantage over the Montenegrins, which has kept them on top of Group Two but that could be quickly turned around at Spotland with Slovenia having already tasted defeat twice and being the only nation in the group with no chance of qualifying for the Finals.
Scenarios like these are something new to Dier, who only made his England debut in late 2011 for the U18s, and it’s something which he admits he is enjoying.
“It’s a big match for us on Wednesday now. Everything is riding on it and we’ve got to win,” he told TheFA.com.
“We knew before the tournament started that whatever happened, it would be going to the last game and now it’s a must-win game, so it will be a good match to take part in.”
Wednesday’s match, if he’s selected, will only be Dier’s fourth outing in an England shirt following his involvement this week and his Three Lions debut last November for the U18s in Slovakia.
He will still be eligible to play for the U19s again next season too, so he admits that he’s trying to take everything on board that he can.
“It’s been a great experience for me, especially being with the year above,” he admitted.
“I’m just trying to learn as much as possible to then take that into next season when I’m still with the U19s and then hopefully keep going and getting selected.”
Despite still being on Sporting’s books after joining the Portuguese giants as a 12-year-old, Dier has spent the last season and a half on loan with Everton where his performances saw him catch the eye of Noel Blake and earn his subsequent call-up for the U18s.
Despite being eligible to play for Portugal now that he’s 18 and due to his residency there after moving with his family at the age of six, the Cheltenham-born player says that his temporary move to English football wasn’t just to bring himself to the attention of the international scouts but more to do with his development as a player.
“I’ve never really worried about it, but being in a different country, you don’t know if people are aware of you or not but it never really crossed my mind,” he admitted.
“I was just happy playing for Sporting and I didn’t go to Everton with England recognition in my sights, I went there to play for Everton and learn a different type of football and the England call-up has come from that, which is great.
“When I was younger, maybe 15 or 16, I know Portugal spoke to Sporting about me possibly playing for Portugal.
“Sporting did the research and I could have played for Portugal, because of the residency rules. But I didn’t really think about that because I wanted to play for England. I’m English, all of my family is English so that’s who I wanted to play for.”
The Switzerland game will be shown live here on FATV from around 7.15pm so if you can't be there to cheer the boys on, make sure you do the next best thing and watch the action live.