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30th Jun 2016

Eric Dier revelation could help explain England’s humiliating Euro 2016 exit

Not at his best

Patrick McCarry

Minutes before England kicked off their Euro 2016 second round clash with Iceland, Roy Hodgson considered making a late, late replacement.

There were many head-scratching moments during England’s 2-1 defeat on Monday night but, for those wondering why Eric Dier looked so subdued, one question has been answered.

The Tottenham midfielder looked lethargic in Nice as he struggled to find his way into the knockout match. He had some tidy touches but was slow off the mark to shut down a couple of Icelandic breaks.

Having been one of England’s best players in the group stages, it was strange to find the game passing the 22-year-old by. He was also one of the three English players – the others being Wayne Rooney and Kyle Walker – culpable for Iceland’s first goal.

Just over a minute after England had taken the lead, Aron Gunnarsson took a long throw-in for Iceland. Dier was slow to come out and meet it and got stuck in no-man’s land as Kari Arnason flicked it on for Ragnar Sigurdsson to finish at the back post.

It has emerged, however, that Dier was ill in the lead-up to the game and was running a high temperature throughout his 45-minute shift [he was substituted at half-time].

Dier had flagged that he was feeling unwell in England’s final warm-up and, according to The Mirror, spoke with a member of the coaching staff before Roy Hodgson was summoned.

England v Iceland - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

Hodgson spoke with Dier briefly before approaching Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson for a chat. It is likely that he was giving Henderson a heads up in case Dier’s condition worsened.

The midfielder took a break from the warm-up to take on some water and mop his perspiring brow. He finished off the team’s passing drills and indicated that he could go on.

Critics would argue that Dier was always going to volunteer his playing services and that the decision should have been taken out of his hands by the English coaching and medical staff.

The decision to start with Dier, who received varied match ratings of 4, 0 and 6, is one that Hodgson will have to live with after another humiliating exit.