Antonio Conte has suggested that Tottenham Hotspur star Eric Dier “can become one of the best defenders in the world”.
Dier joined Spurs in 2014 after he came through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon. They paid around £4m to sign him.
The defender has been an ever-present for Tottenham since his move. He has played just short of 300 times for them across all competitions.
The 27-year-old’s performances have dipped at times and he has not played for England since last year.
Conte took over from Nuno Espirito Santo last month. Dier has played the full 90 minutes in all five of the Italian’s five league games in charge.
As quoted by The Athletic, Conte has claimed that Dier has the ability to become one of the greatest defenders in the world:
“Eric Dier can become one of the best players in the world in that position.
“For sure he needs to work and continue to improve and understand the movement with the defensive line.
“He has to lead more, because in that position you have to speak a lot because you have to stay in the middle, at the back where you can see everything.
“He has a great space for improvement but we are talking about a really good player, strong physically with a good personality and good technically because he was a midfielder.
“This role is perfect for him. He has to continue this way because he can become one of the best central defenders.”
Elsewhere, Spurs have been eliminated from the Europa Conference League. This came as their postponed game versus Rennes was declared a forfeit.
“It is not definitive, but there is another step to confirm or not this incredible decision,” he said.
“We are very, very confident for the next step and I repeat we deserve to play the qualification on the pitch, not in the court. I can’t accept this. We are very, very disappointed with UEFA for this decision.
“It’s unfair for sure. We deserve to play for qualification on the pitch, not in this way. I’m very disappointed for UEFA’s decision.
“I don’t want to understand but I hope in the future, in the next step, something can change because we deserve to play for qualification on the pitch, not in this way. It’s not our fault.”