Dier pulls out of England Under-21 squad to train at Tottenham

England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate has revealed Eric Dier has returned to Tottenham Hotspur after revealing he didn’t want to be considered as a right-back, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Dier has been used at right-back this season but Southgate confirmed Dier asked to be allowed to return to his club to work on his game as a centre-back. “It is an interesting one, we had quite a mature conversation about it and he feels there are parts of his game that he wants to work at,” Southgate said.

“Long term we both agree that he is unlikely to be a full-back and is going to be a centre-half. Without wishing Mauricio [Pochettino] a problem, I think I agree with that so we said he will stay [with Spurs].

“It took me by surprise a little bit as he would have been in the squad and we thought he did well in Croatia, but he feels his time is best served on the training ground.”

The Telegraph add that Dier is likely to be used at right-back again at club level, with Kyle Naughton banned for two games and Kyle Walker not yet recovered from a long-term injury lay-off.

Southgate also stressed that speculation Dier is to reject England for Portugal is unfounded. “He didn’t want there to be any misunderstanding about him not wanting to play for England because he does,” the manager added. “He’s had opportunities in the past to play for Portugal. He doesn’t want to do that, he wants to play for England.

“Eric completely has my blessing. I have had other scenarios where players have elected not to come and they are not here, but I am totally comfortable with this.

“It’s unusual because you don’t get many players coming to you who say: ‘I think I know what I need to work at.’ He’s very focused on what he feels like he wants to do. He wants to start establishing himself as a centre-back at Tottenham in the medium term and there will be a benefit to that working on it in these periods. It was quite refreshing.”

Dier moved to Tottenham from Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2014 and has made 13 appearances under Pochettino, scoring twice.

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