Antonio Conte tips Eric Dier for World Cup place after first England call-up in two years

    Sporting CP v Tottenham Hotspur - UEFA Champions League
    Eric Dier last played for England in November 2020 (Photo: Getty)

    Antonio Conte hopes that Eric Dier will play at the 2022 World Cup having been recalled to the England squad for the first time since March 2021.

    It has been even longer since Dier last played for the Three Lions however, earning his 45th and most recent cap in November 2020 against Iceland.

    Gareth Southgate named his 28-man England squad for September’s Nations League fixtures on Thursday, in what is the last international break before the World Cup in Qatar kicks-off in November.

    Dier is one of just two Tottenham players who have been called-up alongside England captain and star striker Harry Kane.

    ‘I’m really pleased because when the national team call my players, I am really proud because it means we are working very well,’ Tottenham manager Conte said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Leicester.

    ‘We are trying to help the players to go with the national team. In this case for Eric, it was a really good achievement for him. I can only tell him that it is to be a starting point.

    ‘He has to gain the possibility to go to the World Cup. Before the World Cup he has to continue to play well, have a good performance, have a good stability and [show] that he is a reliable player.

    Manchester United v Real Sociedad: Group E - UEFA Europa League
    Harry Maguire is in the England squad despite his lack of minutes this season (Photo: Getty)

    ‘What I can tell him is only this, to continue this way, to continue to work hard and to have this concentration. My staff and I and his team-mates are very happy for this call for the national team.’

    Competition for a place in the England squad is extremely tight, especially in defensive areas, something that Dier will know all about having been on the plane for Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, but missing the cut for last summer’s Euros.

    For the upcoming games against Italy and Germany, Southgate has called up no-less than six centre-backs, namely Dier, Conor Coady, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, John Stones and Fikayo Tomori, while the likes of Kyle Walker and Reece James can also play in a back-three.

    Arsenal Training Session
    Ben White has been controversially left out by Gareth Southgate (Photo: Getty)

    And that list does not include notable omitted names who will also be on Southgate’s radar such as Tyrone Mings, Ben White and Max Kilman.

    ‘With Eric Dier, he has been playing well for a period of time,’ the England manager said.

    ‘We think it is a really close call across our centre-backs and he has deserved to be picked back in the group.

    ‘We know what a good character he is. He fits in with the culture and has great international experience and leadership qualities.’

    MORE : Gareth Southgate sends message to Manchester United star Marcus Rashford after latest England squad snub

    MORE : Gareth Southgate picks Harry Maguire in final England squad before World Cup but snubs Man Utd team-mate Jadon Sancho

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