England must give up its reputation for being ‘too honest’ and ¬become more streetwise if it wants to make good on its status as soccer betting favorite at the Euro2016, according to 22 year old Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier.
When looking at the shortcomings of the national team since 1966 when it won its only World Cup, Dier says foreign players possess a mental advantage that England must recognize and embrace as a means of avoiding falling victim to the game’s more savvy teams. And advantage, one might add, that extends to the people who bet on soccer on those teams.
Dier, who grew up in Portugal was talking with authority borne out of experience. Having spent his childhood in a different country – and his developmental years as a soccer player in said country’s academy system – he has the ability to observe the cultural differences.
Dier noted that there are similarities between the approach England should adopt and the change that manager Mauricio Pochettino brought to Tottenham. A change that made them soccer betting favorites. The Spurs were deemed a soft touch until the Argentinian took over and put them on the map of people who bet on soccer, but by the end of this season they had been accused of being too aggressive when their title bid was ended on a hostile night versus Chelsea.
England will remember many examples of when they fell victim to such an ‘advantage’ in major competitions, ranging from the notorious sending off of David Beckham in France ’98 to Wayne Rooney’s dismissal in the 2006 World Cup. The faux pas of the players were made worse by the exaggerated responses of Diego Simeone and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively – making as sure as soccer betting that the referee would pull out the red card.
In a somewhat ironic twist given the timing of Dier’s assertions, the English team was given a briefing by former referee David Elleray at the team’s Manchester base on Wednesday. Elleray was brought in to make the disciplinary boundaries clear – though it is evident that the current generation of England players are firm believers that their opponents have been more adroit at stretching them.
Dier feels he has grown since being rebooted as a central midfielder and he credits the smoothness of the transition to his early years of training in Portugal. Despite his being raised in and love for Portugal, though, Dier was quick to stress that there is no doubt as to where his national loyalties lie.
Dier’s comments are an echo of Wayne Rooney’s thoughts following the World Cup when England’s captain complained that the team was in need of “that nastiness” and talk about their “honesty” as though it was a flaw rather than a virtue. England’s players felt following the tournament they should have protested more vehemently to the referee when Uruguay captain Diego Godín, already having seen yellow for a handball, physically stopped Daniel Sturridge but received no additional punishment.