Believe me, after more than a year of discussing the “mentality” when Jose Mourinho was in charge of Tottenham, I am sick to death of hearing such stories and tropes.
But this is not pointless aspect of the game. Such a level of mental strength is needed among all the best athletes to reach the top of the sport and this eliminates any differences, but there are a few small nuances that show what character the player is too.
Eric Deere is a man who stands up for what he believes in – he has been outspoken on social issues and has helped create an application before – but the only thing he believes in more than anyone else is Eric Deere.
He supported himself to make the transition from midfielder back to defender and again supported himself to stay there after a year of intense fan control, a season full of mistakes.
“I think they saw him [the best of him] of periods, “Dier told the Evening Standard. I really have mixed emotions about this. Sometimes I want to [the criticism] is a little unfair. Sometimes I make a mistake or something leads to a goal and one mistake is talked about as if it were four or five. Sometimes I felt it.
“As defenders, you will always make mistakes and the most important thing is how you react to them. I think the fans have seen what I can do for a moment, especially at the beginning of the season. I think I had a very good first six months and fell a bit for a few games. But I feel like I’ve been back in a good place for a few months.
“Only the story I see was drawn by me. It really doesn’t bother me too much. I just think it’s a little unfair. This is football. I just have to take care of myself and keep trying to do better. But I am my biggest critic and I know where I can improve and when I can improve. “
The modern age of football and social media means that players are under the microscope more than ever and are open to criticism from anyone on the planet with a stable internet connection. Footballers have long been accustomed to rejecting inflammatory remarks that when they respond, it is considered aggressive. How dare they try and defend themselves.
For Dier to constantly go out and defend his very meme team, defend his many meme capable performances right take strength and endurance above that of the average athlete.
And he is partly right. Defenders will make more expensive mistakes than anyone else, and the spurs have put so much pressure on themselves throughout the season that they have had to be broken. However, they jointly have the fifth best defensive record in the Premier League.
However, it is not too much to ask Dier to show a level of competence and consistency that does not constantly lead to such huge questions over his abilities.
Dier was never the most technically gifted (despite some speculation that growing up in Portugal would make him England’s answer to Sergio Busquets). His exploits in midfield were usually obscured by the brilliance of Musa Dembele, but he had nowhere to hide in the heart of the back four.
He can’t break the first line with a decent pass, enough for the Spurs to be a truly progressive team, and he doesn’t have the defensive instincts to be afraid of keeping the ball out of the net. Dier is just one name among a long line of English central defenders Ok but that’s their ceiling – will Ezri Konsa, Louis Dunk or James Tarkovsky look worse on Tottenham?
Part of the game for a big club is the intense pressure that comes with it, and Deere has yet to prove that he can handle it as a senior figure in the team. Either way, he can come out swaying and insist he’s doing a good job, but as we’ve learned the last two weeks, the opinion of the fans is most important – they decide your legacy.
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