Antonio Conte has hailed Eric Dier as one of the Premier League’s best defenders and called on him to add goals from set-pieces to improve his claims for an England recall ahead of the World Cup.
Conte insisted he would never tell Gareth Southgate who to select because he understood the pressures on international managers.
But the England boss has been impressed by Dier’s fine form for Tottenham this season, and is thinking of bringing him back into the squad for this month’s Nations League games against Italy and Germany.
Antonio Conte (left) has praised defender Eric Dier as one of the best in the Premier League
The Italian boss (pictured) has urged Dier to improve from set-pieces to boost England hopes
“I have great respect for the coach and the decision is in his hands,” said Conte, who was Italy boss for two years from 2014. “What I can tell you is that Eric has improved a lot since I arrived.
“We are talking about a reliable player, 100 per cent focused in every game. He is not a player who alternates with a big performance then a drop. He is providing great continuity in his role and playing every game.
“I can also tell you he is a really good guy, with great will, desire to work and improve. He knows he has space for improvement and I see every day in his eyes the desire to become stronger, to become a top defender.
Gareth Southgate will announce his squad for the Qatar World Cup on or around October 20
“He has to continue this way and, for sure, in set-pieces if he scores more goals I am happy. A player like him, so tall, so strong physically, has to be more effective on corners and set-pieces and score more goals.”
Dier was one of England’s heroes at the 2018 World Cup. He has not added to his 45 caps for nearly two years but is thriving under Conte, who hinted at the 28-year-old’s market value after a summer when central defenders such as Wesley Fofana and Mattijs de Ligt changed clubs for more than £60million.
“In England, we are talking about the best and most difficult tournament in the world,” said the Spurs boss. “And Eric is at an important level of defenders. I see other defenders and if I try to make a comparison, I think you have to put important money down if you want to sign him. But Tottenham does not want to sell him.”
Conte says Tottenham do not want to sell Dier (pictured) unless ‘important money’ was offered