Is Eric Dier shouldering the burden for England’s shot-shy attackers?
When Eric Dier smashed home that unstoppable free-kick against Russia it certainly raised a few eyebrows. All the pre-game hype had surrounded Roy Hodgson’s bizarre decision to assign set-piece taking responsibility to Harry Kane but clearly the England manager had been working on other permutations in training and the Tottenham lynchpin did not let him down, thundering a tremendous strike into the back of the net.
England’s strikers have failed to score in two of the three matches played so far and Dier has actually had more shots than any other member of the Three Lions squad, as can be seen in the Oulala infographic below.
This is a marked improvement from his Spurs’ figures – he only had 30 shots, 17 of which were from outside the box, from 37 Premier League appearances in the 2015/16 season – an average of 0.8 per game. It could be argued that Dier has been given more licence to roam forward in Hodgson’s preferred 4-3-3 formation – Spurs played a strict 4-2-3-1 system for most of the season with Dier anchoring their midfield. The rest of his England stats at Euro 2016 to date make for impressive reading as well and when you throw in the fact that he’s a real aerial threat from corner kicks, he certainly becomes one for fantasy football managers to consider.
Dier clearly has an unquestionable thirst for success and might have become a frustrated figure by England’s inability to break teams down, forcing him to add a whole new dimension to his play. However, if England are to go deep at Euro 2016 they will need their strikers to start firing, even though Dier does seem more than happy to shoulder that burden!
Do you agree that Eric Dier has been England’s best player at Euro 2016 and can he get on the scoresheet against Iceland ?