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Tottenham midfield general Eric Dier an option for England captain

England manager Gareth Southgate has named Eric Dier as captain for Friday's friendly against Germany at Wembley. The Tottenham player, 23, will wear the armband because Harry Kane, Jordan Henderson and Gary Cahill -- Southgate's usual picks -- are injured but there is a strong case that Dier would make a fine permanent captain for England.

Here are five qualities that make Dier a good fit as skipper ...

He is selfless and versatile

According to Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Dier believes his best position is holding midfield but to his credit, he has never publicly stated a preference and he is totally selfless in switching between right-back, centre-back and midfield for club and country at a moment's notice. Like the best captains, Dier always puts the team first and regardless of where he plays, he maintains a presence on the pitch. Southgate, like Pochettino, switches between a back four and back three and Dier's versatility and selflessness make him the perfect player to have on the field.

He is already Pochettino's on-pitch general

Dier is an intelligent man and footballer (it is no coincidence he is so comfortable in three positions) and while he is not Spurs' captain or vice-captain, he is already Pochettino's on-pitch spokesman. When the Spurs manager wants to relay a message to his players mid-game, it is typically Dier he calls over to the touchline. This small but significant responsibility suggests Dier is both approachable and tactically astute and clearly he is well-respected and able to communicate in pressured situations with both his manager and teammates.

Eric Dier
Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier has the potential to lead England permanently.

He stands up for his teammates

Dier's controlled confrontation with Chelsea's Diego Costa in the 2015 League Cup final was the moment Pochettino knew he could trust him and it is one of several instances of Dier standing up for himself and his teammates. Dier also intervened when his combustible teammate and best friend Dele Alli was embroiled in a row with Liverpool's Emre Can, diffusing the situation with a menacing stare, and he was quick to warn Ander Herrera after a heated confrontation with the Manchester United player during England's friendly defeat to Spain last year. Despite the frequency of his spats, Dier rarely loses control (Spurs' 2-2 draw at Chelsea in May 2016 is perhaps the only instance) and he has earned the respect of his teammates as an on-pitch general.

He is not the star

Dier is a good pick as captain for what he is not, as well as what he is. He is not, like Kane, England's star player and he is under less pressure and scrutiny than his Spurs teammate when he plays international football. Captaincy is a round-the-clock job during tournaments and international weeks, and Kane should be allowed to focus on his performances and dragging England through difficult moments. In this respect, Henderson would also make a good permanent captain but the Liverpool player is less assured of a place than Dier, particularly given his injury problems.


Along with Joe Hart, Dier is the only England regular to have played outside the UK and his upbringing in Portugal at Sporting Lisbon has given him different experiences to the average England player. As well as speaking Portuguese and understanding Spanish -- important qualities given the communication and diplomacy aspects of captaincy -- Dier has experienced a different culture and a different type of coaching and football, and he understands better than most about opponents' approaches and, crucially, how to stop them.

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.


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