Eric Dier has thanked everyone at Tottenham for pushing him into an England recall and hinted he is not ready to settle for just a supporting role under national team boss Gareth Southgate.
The centre-back played the last of his 45 caps in November 2020 and looked set to miss the World Cup when he was snubbed for international games earlier in the summer.
Dier ended last season in superb form but has continued to do so this season, with Southgate this time bringing the 28-year-old back into the squad for the forthcoming Nations League games against Italy and Germany.
A key part of England’s run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, the versatile Spurs player saw his role diminish in the years that followed, but he believes his return to the Three Lions camp is just the beginning.
“I’m just looking forward to going and I think like my manager (Antonio Conte) said during the week, for me my goal is that this is just a starting point for me. I think there’s a lot more I can do,” Dier said.
“Honestly, it (a recall) wasn’t what I had in mind. I was just thinking about being as good a player as possible for Tottenham and everything else that happens is a consequence of that.
“I think that’s the only thing I had to focus on and the only thing I could control. Everything else that happens, happens.
“I’m just really grateful for how my team-mates, the coaching staff and everyone at Tottenham have been supportive, pushing and trying to help me get back to the national team.”
Dier scored his second goal of the season in Saturday’s 6-2 win against Leicester but found his exploits overshadowed by Son Heung-min’s sensational hat-trick.
The former Sporting Lisbon defender believes Son will now ‘open the floodgates’ and the Spurs number seven, who has gone eight games without a goal, believes this tough period will help him grow stronger.
Son said: “Obviously it was a difficult moment, a difficult first pair of games but look, that’s a lesson. I’ve always been like that.
“I have experience in professional football teams. I’ve had some bad periods and had some amazing periods.
“Even when I’ve had a good time, I’ve learned so many things, and even in a bad time, I think you know that in the bad times you learn so many good things about life. I’m doing that right now.
“I don’t think it was that bad, but in those difficult moments, I had so much teaching and just had really good people around me helping me, which was really, really important.”
A key person in helping Son get back in shape was Spurs fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, who mostly put the players through grueling workouts during the preseason.
“Yeah, he’s a killer,” laughed Son.
“He’s a killer but I have a really, really good relationship with Gian Piero. Obviously his English is not perfect, sometimes he comes with his mobile phone and translates from Italian to English. That means a lot.
“Not so football-wise, I think in life he gives me so much advice, which I’m really grateful for. He was so helpful and always gave me a tight hug during difficult times and even during great times he was always next to me and all the staff.
“Even on Saturday before we left the training ground, the hotel, we had a few minutes for a nice chat that made me very comfortable and very grateful.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/eric-dier-england-english-antonio-conte-italy-b2169992.html There’s a lot more I can do – Eric Dier hopes England remember ‘just the beginning’