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By ESPN Staff

Everton sign Sporting's Dier on loan

Everton have signed 17-year-old English defender Eric Dier on loan from Sporting Lisbon.

Dier has come through the junior ranks at Sporting after his parents moved to Portugal to work when he was seven.

They have now returned to England but Dier, who has attracted interest from Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal in the past, stayed in Portugal to develop his game and is contracted to Sporting until 2013.

Everton confirmed on their website that the deal had gone through and Dier would join the club's academy until the end of the season.

An Everton statement read: ''Everton can confirm that Eric Dier has joined the club on loan from Sporting Lisbon until the end of the season. The 17-year old Academy signing will train at Finch Farm whilst he is in the UK.''

A statement on the Sporting website read: ''Eric Dier, central defender of the Sporting Lisbon junior team, has joined Everton on loan until June 30, 2011. This is an opportunity for him to grow in a competitive and more demanding environment.''

Dier is 6' 2'' and regarded as a versatile, goalscoring centre-back. He is bilingual and could be eligible for dual English-Portuguese nationality when he turns 18.

He also has footballing heritage as his grandfather, the late Ted Croker, was secretary of the Football Association from 1973-89 after playing as a defender for Charlton and Kidderminster.


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