ANTONIO CONTE sees in Eric Dier’s eyes the hunger to become one of the best defenders in world football.
Dier’s form has improved dramatically under the Italian so it came as a shock he wasn’t recalled by England for the June internationals.
The 28-year-old may have missed that period but SunSport announced on Friday he is back in Gareth Southgate’s plans and has a good chance of making up the squad for the Nations League games against Italy and Germany later this month.
A former international manager at Italy himself, Conte would never advise Southgate on what to do and what not to do.
But the Spurs boss has no doubt as to how far Dier has come under his tutelage.
Conte said: “I think the big improvement with Eric is that now he’s a player who is 100 per cent focused in every game. He’s a reliable player.
“He’s not a player who switches performances (where you have a) big performance or sometimes fall.
“I think he’s a really reliable player. He offers great continuity in his role.
“For me he is a really important player. He plays every game.
“I can tell you he’s a really good guy with great will, great desire to work and improve. He knows very well that he has room for improvement.
“I see in his eyes every day the desire to get stronger, stronger, stronger. become a top defender. I see that in his eyes.
“Whether or not he deserves to go (with England) depends on what national team manager Southgate thinks. I have too much respect for him to try to convince him.”
Dier has cemented the central role in Conte’s back three at Spurs and will face Fulham there on Saturday.
In that game he will meet a coach he knows well: Marco Silva, who coached him briefly at Sporting Lisbon and is now boss of the newly promoted Cottagers.
It will also feature Ryan Sessegnon against his former club, who joined Spurs from Fulham for £25million in 2019.
Sessegnon has not made the impact he would have liked in north London, largely due to injuries.
But he also impressed under Conte and is engaged in an exciting battle with Ivan Perisic for the left-back.
And unlike fellow youngsters Djed Spence, Pape Matar Sarr and Bryan Gil, 22-year-old Sessegnon is seen as a player Conte can count on in the biggest games.
The ex-Chelsea boss added: “With Sess we are now talking about a young player but a reliable player who I can rely on for every game when I play in the Premier League or Champions League.
“You know very well that in every game I try to make the right decision, but in this role I’m fine because I have Perisic and Sessegnon, two important players.
“He’s improved a lot and I remember very well that Sessegnon has been another player since I arrived. Now he’s a reliable player and he has great confidence. He is physically strong and has improved in quality and technique.
“We’re talking about a really good player, a young player who can get stronger, but that’s different from other young players.”
Estimated cast: Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Royal, Bentancur, Hojbjerg, Sessegnon; Richarlison, Kane, son.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6139207/antonio-conte-eric-dier-england-form/ Antonio Conte on Eric Dier’s improved form as Tottenham defender makes it back into Gareth Southgate’s England plans