Get to know Eric Dier after the England international followed in the footsteps of compatriot, and good friend, Harry Kane by swapping Tottenham Hotspur for Bayern Munich.
1) Football's in the family
Dier is not the first footballer in his family. His grandfather, Ted Croker, not only played professionally for London club Charlton Athletic, but was also a successful administrator. He served as secretary of the English Football Association from 1973 to 1989 and was President of Cheltenham Town, Dier's hometown club.
Not only that, Dier is also the great nephew of Peter Croker, Ted's brother. He too represented Charlton and was at the club when they won the 1946 FA Cup final, although Peter missed the showpiece through injury. Both Crokers played in defence, where Dier has also carved out his career.
It does not stop there with the family sporting heritage. His father, Jeremy, was a professional tennis player and featured in the main draw of Wimbledon on a number of occasions, while his mother, Louise, works in sports management and her role as head of hospitality at UEFA's 2004 European Championship took the family to Portugal, where Eric's footballing journey first took shape.
2) "The perfect mix"
Dier was seven when his parents and five siblings made the move and he was quickly scouted by Lisbon giants Sporting to join their academy, which had previously produced the likes of Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo. There, Dier, was taught "a very relaxed approach in terms of football,” he told The Guardian. “They pride themselves on bringing you up as a polite and respectful person. They would never get angry with you if you missed a pass but they would do if you were disrespectful to someone. There was no shouting. I hear a lot that that is the case in England."
He would soon discover the contrasting styles for himself, with a loan move to Everton on the eve of his 17th birthday. "For me, if you get 50% Portuguese and 50% English it really is the perfect mix. My dad basically said I needed a kick up the backside," said Dier in the same interview.
"The six months were a nightmare. If I am completely honest, I absolutely … I didn’t hate it but, at the time, I just thought: ‘Get me out of here.’ It was so different to what I was used to. The lifestyle, the weather, the place, the people … even the language was a factor. The scouse accent was tough for me. And, in football terms, it was a lot more aggressive.”
3) Friends reunited... sort of
Dier becomes the fourth Englishman to sign for Bayern and the second in six months to make the move from Tottenham. That is after England captain Kane sent shockwaves across Europe by joining the reigning German champions, for whom he has made a record-breaking start by scoring 21 times in his first 15 Bundesliga appearances.
The pair are friends and have featured alongside each other in 360 matches for both club and country, where they established themselves as key figures in both dressing rooms. Dier's move to Spurs ahead of the 2014/15 campaign coincided with Kane's breakout season in north London and they will now be reunited at the Allianz Arena. Although, Kane may well be sticking to sitting alongside Thomas Müller or Jamal Musiala when the club hops on a plane for UEFA Champions League duties.
Asked by ESPN who he'd least like to be seated next to on a long-haul flight, Kane joked: "I'm going to put Eric Dier in there. Eric Dier just sleeps everywhere - on the coach, on the plane, so I'll be getting no conversation from him. He'll probably sleep the whole 12 hours, or whatever the flight is."
4) He's a philanthropist...
Dier is well known for his work off the pitch, supporting charitable organisations in a number of ways in recent years. While at Tottenham, he worked closely with the club's Tottenham Hotspur Foundation and almost immediately immersed himself in community projects, which aimed to rejuvenate the local area.
He became an ambassador for Sported in 2020, the same organisation which is the UK's largest network of community groups and also sees mum Louise serves as both a member and a trustee. Since working with Sported, Dier has thrown his support behind a number of initiatives, including visiting, and speaking out on behalf of, academies looking to combat gang involvement and the UK's cost of living crisis.
"I know how much getting involved in sports can help young people and I’m looking forward to visiting as many of the sports groups as I can and witness for myself how much of a difference they are making to communities across the UK," he said when joining Sported. "It's a privilege to take on this role.”
5) ... and a techie
As well as being a professional footballer and charity worker, Dier is also the co-founder of two tech startups. He launched the first, Spotlas, with his brother, Patrick, and friend, and Zoe Connick in 2019 to develop a social network platform which Forbes described as being "something between Instagram and Trip Advisor."
And Dier is far from a hands-off founder, as Patrick told the publication: “A key thing for [Eric] is people's perception often with these things is that; ‘it's a [soccer player] they're just like throwing money at it’ or ‘they're not actually involved.’ Whereas with him [there is] a lot of brain time put into it. All the ideas, all the designs, are fully discussed between the three of us. Even like management problems, the three of us we deal with it together.”
The brothers launched their second venture in July 2022, with the release of Yellow Build, which was given its full debut at last September's Web Summit. Fittingly held in Lisbon, Dier was on stage to announce the digital creation app between domestic duties with Spurs. He is a rare footballer with a LinkedIn page, and who you will find more on his own apps than you do on Instagram.
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