'I've reached my best level in my career' – Dier thanks Conte as he re-enters the England set-up
Tottenham centre-back Eric Dier heaped praise on coach Antonio Conte for helping to resurrect his international career ahead of the World Cup.
However, after tallying 35 Premier League appearances this past campaign, Dier has become a crucial part of Conte's three centre-back lineup, playing every minute of Tottenham's seven unbeaten matches this season (5W, 2D).
Speaking to the media about how he feels he has evolved since his last national call-up, Dier gave plenty of credit to Conte for changing the way he approaches his game.
"I don’t want to sound like a teacher’s pet but [Conte] has done a lot for me," he said. "In every way he has done a lot for me.
"He has had a great effect on me in every aspect. Tactically, physically, mentally. My approach.
"Not just the manager but all his staff. He is very demanding, but I really enjoy that. Ever since he arrived, I have never learnt so much in this year. I don’t think I have learnt as much before as I have now with him.
"He is the godfather of that system so I feel like with him you’re constantly learning and evolving within that system, constantly adding new things – once we learn one thing we’re onto the next.
"I think he probably gave me my belief back a little bit as well."
Dier took things a step further and said he does not just feel he has recaptured his previous form, but he has now reached a new level.
"I think it was my most difficult season when I did miss out on the Euros, [but] I don’t think it was as bad a season as it is made out to be," he said. "Nowhere near.
"But now I think I’ve reached my best level in my career, not just this season but last season as well. I think I’m getting better and I think I can get better."
With five matches required to bring up his half-century in an England shirt, Dier said he would be lying if it was not on his mind.
"I’ve seen they’ve got a board up now in the reception of the hotel of all the people who have made 50 and 100," he said. "It’s a dream to be able to reach that.
"It would mean a lot. It’s something that when I wasn’t in the squad it was playing on my mind that I was so close to it. That did annoy me. I would love to be able to get to that kind of milestone.
"I’m very happy… I’m very proud of making it back, I just don’t like dramatising it too much. I play football, you know?"