Eric Dier loving life under Gareth Southgate but condemns Roy Hodgson's 'half-hearted' England

Dier didn't mention Hodgson but only praised Southgate and Allardyce

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Eric Dier is loving the Gareth Southgate era, and the new feeling that an England manager finally has a clear idea about how he wants the team to play. The muddled thinking of the Roy Hodgson years feels a long time ago.

What Dier wants more than anything else from a manager is conviction. That is what he gets every week from Mauricio Pochettino, a man who has religious faith in his own philosophy, and will never bend from it. With England, though, things have not always been that simple. Dier came into an England team which was unsure of its self and its direction, whether it wanted to be a passing side or not. Dier did not mention Roy Hodgson by name but he spoke positively about Southgate and Sam Allardyce in their commitment to their own approaches, and those are the only three England managers he has played for.

But this England team, four games into the Southgate tenure, is committed to their own approach. They do not change course mid-match or when things get tough. That is why Dier enjoys playing for England so much now, and why he encourages supporters to do the same. It is why he was still smiling on Tuesday night, after England had thrown away their 2-0 lead against Spain.

“I enjoyed that, it was good fun, apart from the end,” Dier said. “That’s what England, the players and the fans, need to do. Everyone needs to enjoy it a bit more. Instead of the worrying feeling, people need to enjoy it more, instead of always worrying.”

Enjoyment means forgetting about the results for now and focusing on playing football in England’s own new style. “For me that’s the most important thing, no matter what the result is,” Dier said. “To be honest, I don’t care what the result is. I want us to have a style of play, and a way of playing, and to stick to it.”

This why Dier is enjoying playing under Southgate far more than under Hodgson, when England jumped from one approach to another without ever quite knowing what they were trying to do, or ever believing in it. “Win, lose or draw I’ll be happy, as long as we stick to a way of playing and believe in it 100 per cent,” Dier said. “That’s what we’ve been doing over these four games now. And I think here you could see it better than in the other three. We had a way, we stuck to it, and we got our rewards up until the end.”

It has not always been like this. Dier did not mention Hodgson by name but he did say that England, in the past, had been too “half-hearted” with no real commitment to any style of play. “Sam [Allardyce] had a way of playing and he stuck to it, and he believed in it 100 per cent,” Dier said. “Gareth as well. But I think at times, it has been half-hearted. Play out, and then you lose the ball playing out, and you want to go long, and then you go long, and it’s ‘why don’t you play out’? You either do it or you don’t for me.”

Southgate has committed to his own style of football (Getty)

This is the same ambitious Southgate who coached Dier at Under-21s, and the Spurs man is pleased to still work with him. “He is still the same person,” Dier said. “That’s the most important thing, that people don’t change, they stick to their beliefs. I think what he’s done over the four games is obvious.”