“I am resident wicketkeeper,” laughs Eric Dier, after being noticed donning goalkeeping gloves throughout Tottenham’s coaching floor cricket matches.
Clips of these Hotspur Manner knockabouts replicate the final feel-good ambiance at a membership who sit high of the Premier League desk heading into Sunday’s north London derby towards Arsenal.
Not that Dier is getting carried away.
“It is all the time good to be first however clearly it does not actually imply a lot proper now – what issues is in Could,” he tells BBC Sport.
The England worldwide is, nonetheless, an integral a part of the division’s most frugal defence, with Jose Mourinho’s facet boasting 4 clear sheets of their previous 5 league video games since conceding three targets within the remaining eight minutes to attract with West Ham in October.
“We had been disillusioned with how issues occurred and we spoke about that as a bunch afterwards,” says Dier. “We knew we wanted to do higher.
“It’s actually a staff factor to have the ability to defend nicely. It is due to 11 gamers all doing their half in no matter manner is important.
“There was a implausible feeling in that sense, the place everyone seems to be prepared to go that further mile for one another and that is actually essential.”
Spurs have conceded 9 targets in 10 league video games this season, three of which had been penalties, regardless of having little time to work collectively on the coaching floor.
“We have barely been in a position to practice due to the schedule – a whole lot of conferences,” provides Dier. “I really feel like all season we have now been defending very nicely.
“Southampton and Brighton had been the one targets we conceded from open play, the remaining had been all from set-pieces or a second part after a set-piece.
“That was actually disappointing. That is what we wanted to deal with, and we did.”
Spurs presently sit above Liverpool on purpose distinction, though Chelsea and Leicester Metropolis each play earlier within the weekend and will transfer forward of them.
‘Mourinho may be very genuine, he by no means adjustments’
Dier, who spent massive spells of the Mauricio Pochettino period in a holding midfield function, says he now feels “most snug and most assured” at centre-back, having labored arduous to regain full health following appendix surgical procedure in December 2018.
Pochettino’s exit and the three-month suspension of soccer in March meant a turbulent season final day trip.
With the addition of latest signings and “a whole lot of recent vitality”, Dier sees the present marketing campaign as “ranging from scratch” below Mourinho.
“He has had ‘his’ affect,” Dier, talking earlier than his look at Net Summit, says of the Portuguese’s first 12 months in cost.
“What I imply by that’s all of the issues he brings – the way in which he needs us to be as a staff on and off the pitch. The way in which he needs the coaching floor to be, the coaching classes.
“He has introduced his personal model in many alternative methods and everyone seems to be having fun with working with him. In a short time, he defined what he expects from us and that is all the time been very clear.
“Clearly, as you spend extra time collectively as a bunch and with the supervisor and his teaching workers, you begin to construct a stronger relationship and perceive one another higher.
“He’s very genuine, very actual and by no means adjustments. That is one thing satisfying to work with – very sincere, very direct. He’s the primary one to be critical and likewise the primary one to have a joke when the time is correct.”
Mourinho has even taken to sharing posts on social media after games for followers to decipher.
“He’s having enjoyable with it, which is an important factor, and everyone seems to be having fun with it,” says Dier. “He has given us just a few suggestions right here and there on what he thinks is an efficient Instagram!”
Not that Dier wants any social media recommendation.
The 26-year-old spent lockdown placing the ending touches to a social networking app he based with brother Patrick and buddy Zoe Connick that encourages customers to share their favorite spots, corresponding to eating places, cafes and motels.
“We expect it is one thing everybody can relate to,” says Dier, who has most of his Spurs team-mates utilizing ‘Spotlas’.
“We’re placing that word-of-mouth expertise, the place you would possibly ask associates or household for locations to go or somebody from a metropolis or nation you are visiting, on to a platform to make it so much simpler for folks to have the ability to discover the perfect locations in any metropolis they go to.”
Engaged on the start-up has introduced difficulties, particularly throughout a worldwide pandemic, however Dier has loved overcoming these challenges and having a challenge to concentrate on.
“Patrick and Zoe have labored evening and day, each day, for the previous two years and have put in a lot,” he provides. “Clearly soccer is a whole lot of my time, however we meet each week and talk about new concepts and every little thing surrounding the app.
“To see the ultimate product, have it in your cellphone and expertise utilizing it has been unbelievable.”
It has given the previous Sporting Lisbon participant, who has additionally been finding out for a level in social sciences via the Open College, a style for future developments.
“I accomplished my first 12 months after which Spotlas got here in and took over,” explains Dier, who’s already contemplating one other app. “For me, it’s actually essential to have various things to concentrate on exterior of soccer.
“It is good to have that distraction and be engaged on and studying totally different expertise. The app has undoubtedly given me that. I’ve discovered a lot doing it – learn how to handle totally different conditions, working with a start-up and every little thing that comes with that. I’ve loved that entire course of.”
Come Sunday, nonetheless, his focus can be on sustaining Spurs’ spot on the high of the league and welcoming 2,000 followers on the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the primary time since March.
“We’re actually excited for that,” says Dier. “For the few that do handle to come back, will probably be a pleasant change and hopefully the beginning of some normality.
“We have now been very fortunate within the sense we have now been in a position to proceed doing what we love. I have been making an attempt to keep in mind that as a lot as potential.
“To have the ability to come to coaching each day and nonetheless play matches is unbelievable.”