Cheltenham born Eric Dier could make his Champions League knockout debut next month after Spurs drew Juventus in the round of 16 draw in December. This is the first time Tottenham have progressed out of the group stage since 2011 when they got to the quarter-finals, losing 5-1 on aggregate to Real Madrid.
Dier has been a regular top performer in the first team since joining Mauricio Pochettino’s side from Sporting Lisbon just before the start of the 2014/15 Premier League season. The 23-year-old’s impressive displays for his club have also got him international recognition for England.
Though he is well established in the Spurs and England set up like teammates Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Harry Kane, Dier took a more unusual route to get to the top.
Born in Cheltenham on the 15th of January 1994, he lived in England until the age of seven, when his father’s position as an executive for Dunlop Sport’s tennis department and his mother’s job offer to run the UEFA Euro 2004 hospitality program, meant the Dier family had to relocate to the Iberian Peninsula in Portugal.
A year later he moved to Lisbon where he attended the Lisbon International Preparatory school. Dier’s PE teacher Miguel Silva saw the eight-year-old’s talent and referred him to scouts at Sporting Lisbon.
Dier rose through the ranks in Sporting’s academy and was offered his first contract at the age of 16 in 2010. Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham were all after the teenager, but Dier stayed loyal to Sporting and signed for the 22 time Primeira Liga champions.
The Englishman broke into Sporting’s first team in 2012 and established himself as a starter under a string of Sporting managers, including Leonardo Jardim and Marco Silva, and it wasn’t long before the interest in his services peaked again. Dier signed for Tottenham Hotspur for £4 million in 2014. Since joining Spurs, Englishmen has been a stalwart player in Mauricio Pochettino’s side, helping them to two top three finishes, and has impressed in this season’s Champions League against Borussia Dortmund and the holders Real Madrid.