Eric Dier has spoken about how Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho challenged him to prove himself worthy of a central defensive spot in his side.
Dier broke through as a centre half, before being converted into a holding midfielder under Mauricio Pochettino.
Now, he is seemingly a defensive option for club and country again, with Gareth Southgate playing him at the back alongside Joe Gomez against Iceland on Saturday.
“It was the right time to become a specialist in one position,” said Dier, via Football Daily. “(Centre back) is the position I feel I can fulfill my potential to the maximum.
“I can perform to a higher level as a centre back, that’s always been my belief.
“Mourinho put the challenge to me and just said, ‘prove it to me’, really. I’ve worked hard to do that.”
Dier is probably right in his assessment of his game.
As a holding midfielder, he’s fairly limited in his passing and not the most mobile.
But in terms of central defenders, he’s on the quicker side and that experience of playing in midfield should stand him in good stead when it comes to playing out from the back.
From an England perspective, Gareth Southgate isn’t exactly blessed with central defensive options and Dier should harbour hopes of going to Euro 2021 as a defender.