Eric Dier believes England need to be more “streetwise” at the forthcoming European Championship, echoing the comments of Wayne Rooney following their dismal 2014 World Cup campaign.
Rooney suggested England’s style had been “too honest” and needed the kind of “nastiness” and “clever” play exhibited by other international sides following their embarrassing first-round exit in Brazil two years ago.
Tottenham midfielder Dier agrees with those sentiments and is well placed to judge as he is the only member of Roy Hodgson’s squad to have played in a league outside Britain, having spent his formative years in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon before moving to north London in August 2014.
And, ahead of England’s friendly against Australia at the Stadium of Light on Friday, Dier said: “I think international football is a bit different (to English club football).
“I grew up in Portugal where it’s quite similar and I don’t think it’s as aggressive – it’s got more of an intelligent edge.
“I think it’s important that we have that. A lot of European and international teams have that intelligent edge as much as an aggressive edge. We’ve got to be like that too.
“I don’t think they go around kicking people. They win fouls in clever places on the pitch, they keep possession, they know how to wind people up, they know how agitate people. We can’t fall for that and we can learn from that.
“Streetwise is the perfect way to put it. European teams and nations are like that.
“I think the English are a bit too honest, hard working at times.
“We need to be clever, but we don’t want to lose that English attitude either.”
Manchester United teenager Marcus Rashford is in line to make his senior debut against the Socceroos in the second of three warm-up games as he looks to make an impression before Hodgson whittles his provisional squad down to 23 for Euro 2016.
Rashford appears to be in direct competition with Daniel Sturridge to join Rooney, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy as England’s forwards in France and his hopes may have been bolstered by the Liverpool striker being rested from Wednesday’s training session as a precaution due to an unspecified knock.
The thought of Rashford making it this far was unthinkable at the turn of the year as it was only three months ago that he made his United debut, with the 18-year-old going onto net eight goals from 18 appearances in all competitions.
Dier said: “It’s a bit of a fairytale isn’t it?
“It is brilliant for English football and for him, and I’m really happy for him that he is here with us.
“Hopefully we can look after him, there won’t be too much pressure on him and he can do what he has been doing for his club here with us.”
Regarding the amount of young players like himself and Rashford in Hodgson’s squad, Dier, 22, added: “I think maybe Harry (Kane, the 22-year-old Tottenham and England striker who made his senior international bow in March 2015) opened the door for people like Marcus this season.
“It is brilliant that if you are good enough, you are old enough and I think he fully deserves all the credit he has been getting.
“It has been an unbelievable few months for him.”