Eric Dier is "grateful" to be back in the England squad for the World Cup after fearing he may never play for the Three Lions again following his Euro 2020 omission.

Tottenham defender Dier was a notable absentee from Gareth Southgate's side for the coronavirus-delayed European Championship in 2021, where England lost in the final to Italy on penalties.

The likes of Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Tyrone Mings and Conor Coady were preferred at the back by Southgate, though Dier has returned to the fold for Qatar.

England face Iran in Monday's Group B opener and Dier acknowledged he thought the chance to represent his country at a major tournament may never come again.

"I'd be lying if I said that didn't cross my mind [that I might not be in England contention again]," the 28-year-old said. 

"When I missed out on the Euro 2020 squad that was one of the worst moments of my career.

"I'm grateful to be here now. I'm very proud of myself how I managed to fight my way back in."

Dier has been ever-present for Tottenham in the Premier League this season, pinpointing his "special" coach Antonio Conte as the reason for his upturn in form.

"Last season after Antonio Conte arrived that was some of the best football I've played – and it has carried into this season," he added.

"I'm enjoying every minute of working with him. He's a special manager."

The 32 nations competing at the 2022 World Cup face an unprecedented situation, with the world's elite leagues pausing for a mid-season break to allow their stars to compete for glory in the Middle East.

"It's a unique situation for us. In some ways it's quite nice. Maybe not for the coaches and managers - it's not ideal [for them]," Dier continued. 

"From a player's point of view, the quick turnaround is nice. We're here and just getting straight into it. I'm quite impatient. There are other aspects that aren't so great with injuries when they wouldn't usually have missed a tournament. I'm very excited to start."

Host nation Qatar has also come under widespread criticism amid concerns over their human rights record in a country where same-sex relationships are prohibited.

England manager Southgate, captain Harry Kane among a host of other senior figures competing at the World Cup have vowed to speak out, though Dier suggested players have been left in a difficult situation.

"It's extremely difficult for us as players. We know these topics are going to be addressed - it's a difficult situation," the centre-back said.

"When the World Cup was awarded to Qatar in 2010, I was 16 at the time. It's difficult for me to talk on it. As players, we have no say on where we play.

"Those decisions are made by people way above us. We're the ones who end up sitting here having to answer these questions.

"I carry the values I've been given by my family and those who educated me. We've been here a very short time. For me, it's important to live this experience. At that point, I'll have a better idea of what to say on it.

"A lot of things that are disappointing have happened. As a team we carry values wherever we go – but we respect everywhere we go."

The latest Liverpool revival starts here. Those mighty Reds have pulled level on points with Fulham.

Still, you have to start somewhere, and Tottenham are usually ripe for the picking when Liverpool are in town, with Eric Dier this time taking it upon himself to roll out the red carpet and wave Mohamed Salah into the spotlight.

It's nine goals in eight games now for Salah, none of them penalties, and if Liverpool collectively are still far short of where Jurgen Klopp would want them, then at least the manager need not worry about his star forward.

A 2-1 win at Tottenham came as little surprise in many regards, since it means the north London side remain winless in their last 10 Premier League games against Liverpool, drawing three of those and losing seven.

Salah was on the scoresheet the last time Liverpool lost to Tottenham in the league, getting the consolation in a 4-1 humbling at Wembley – Spurs' then temporary home – in October 2017.

That was in the early stages of his first season with Liverpool, and Salah has barely stopped scoring since, though a shaky run of games early this season raised red flags about his form.

Fresh from signing a long-term deal in the close season, and recently turning 30, Liverpool are counting on Salah to remain lethal in front of goal.

Their success under Klopp, that Tottenham can only envy, has come thanks to a host of factors, but Salah's goals have been front and centre.

He was not sure in midweek that he had been awarded Liverpool's opening goal against Napoli, with Darwin Nunez's header having been close to crossing the line before it was nudged out to Salah.

But Salah was in the right place and was given that one, and there was no doubting his claims to Liverpool's two goals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where the visitors finally picked up a first away league win of the season.

The first was another from the Nunez-Salah collection, their partnership blossoming now, with the Uruguayan finding the Egyptian with a short, smart pass in the penalty area and the finish to the bottom-right corner was exemplary.

Desperate defending from Dier presented Salah with the chance to double Liverpool's lead, with the England international looking to nod Alisson's long kick back to Hugo Lloris but getting it all wrong.

Salah's footwork, running at pace onto the loose ball, was magnificent, and the chipped finish over the France goalkeeper was immaculate.

But what of Dier? Can he be trusted to avoid such blunders by Gareth Southgate at the World Cup? That is a third error leading to a shot committed by Dier in all competitions this season. Only one player from Europe's top leagues has had more: Liverpool's Joe Gomez (4).

Two of those mistakes from Dier have led to goals, and only one Premier League player has made as many errors already in 2022-23 that have proved quite so costly. The trouble for Spurs is that player is Lloris, also with two goal-costing errors.

This was the first time Tottenham had hosted Liverpool while above them in the table since that October 2017 win, and you have to wonder how long Spurs will stay ahead of Sunday's visitors.

They remain fourth for now, seven points adrift of a Liverpool side who have a game in hand on them, and they got what proved to be a classy consolation when Harry Kane rifled home a smart finish from substitute Dejan Kulusevski's pass in the 70th minute.

Kane spoke after the game of there being "tension" in the stands, and admitted Tottenham had been "punished" by Liverpool before building any momentum. The hosts hit the goal frame twice through Ivan Perisic, but Salah also had a glorious second-half chance, squandering the opportunity to seal a hat-trick when he fired straight at Lloris from a handy central position.

He has seven goals in 12 Premier League appearances against Spurs now, but it probably should have been eight.

Antonio Conte's Tottenham team selection had looked conservative, with injuries biting but attacking ambition seemingly in short supply. Kulusevski proved a threat on his return from injury, ripe to be used regularly in the coming weeks if there was not the inconvenience of a World Cup on the near horizon.

Kane's fine goal would have cheered Southgate, while Dier's clumsy error does him no favours ahead of the Qatar 2022 squad selection.

Kane became the first player to score in six consecutive home games for Spurs in the Premier League, but he was fighting a lone battle at times. Like Salah, Kane's class remains unquestionable.

Yet a Tottenham side who have lost three of their last four in the league are in need of a revival. Liverpool's wins over Napoli and now Spurs suggest Klopp's team might be in the early throes of one, but then you remember they lost to Leeds United at Anfield barely a week ago.

After the World Cup, these two sides must resolve their personality crises. More fits, starts and false dawns will mean the mid-table likes of Fulham might not be so easily shaken off.

Gabriel Martinelli produced another outstanding display in a thriller against Liverpool last weekend and the Arsenal forward can torment Leeds United on Sunday.

If you have overlooked Martinelli for your fantasy team so far this season, now is the time to see the error of your ways and pick the Brazil international before he wreaks havoc at Elland Road.

Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Eric Dier can also rack up the points when they face Everton in the Premier League.

Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is enjoying a new lease of life with Graham Potter at the helm and that could continue this weekend.

It's that time of the week when you need to be finalising your fantasy selections and help is at hand, as Stats Perform pick out the Opta data to point you in the right direction.

 

Kepa Arrizabalaga (Aston Villa v Chelsea)

Chelsea have made a great start to life under Potter and Kepa Arrizabalaga is certainly enjoying a new era at Stamford Bridge.

The Spaniard has taken over from Edouard Mendy as Chelsea's first-choice goalkeeper, and he has not conceded in the Blues' past three matches.

Of keepers who have played at least 180 minutes in the Premier League this season, only Neto (81.82 per cent) has a better save percentage than Kepa's 80. Only Wolves (3) have a lower goal tally than Aston Villa's seven in the top flight in the 2022-23 campaign, so Kepa looks like your man between the sticks this weekend.

Eric Dier (Tottenham v Everton)

Only Ruben Dias (4) has kept more clean sheets among defenders than Spurs centre-back Dier (3) this season.

The England international has also scored twice, with goal always a bonus for defenders in the battle for fantasy football prizes.

Everton have scored just the eight goals in nine Premier League games this season, so you can get a good return from putting Dier in your side.

Gabriel Martinelli (Leeds United v Arsenal)

Martinelli has scored four goals and provided two assists for leaders Arsenal this season.

Both assists have come in his past two matches and he stunned Liverpool with an early opening goal in a 3-2 thriller last Sunday.

Only Kevin De Bruyne (30) and Mohamed Salah (26) have created more chances than Martinelli's 20 this season. He could be too hot for Leeds to handle at Elland Road.

Harry Kane (Tottenham v Everton)

Spurs talisman Kane has scored in four consecutive Premier League games and he was also on target in a midweek Champions League win over Eintracht Frankfurt.

Only Erling Haaland (15)  can boast a better goal tally than Kane's eight in the top flight this season, while he is also one of only two players to have both 15 shots on target and 15 chances created (16 and 17). 

Kane's scoring streak can continue when he comes up against the Toffees, who could be up against it in the capital.

Tottenham centre-back Eric Dier heaped praise on coach Antonio Conte for helping to resurrect his international career ahead of the World Cup.

Dier, 28, has 45 senior caps for England since debuting in 2015, but it has been almost two years since he last represented his country in a UEFA Nations League win against Iceland in November 2020.

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?"

Eric Dier has thanked Antonio Conte and his Tottenham team-mates for helping him earn a recall to the England squad, which he hopes is "just a starting point".

Spurs defender Dier has been called up by Gareth Southgate for the upcoming Nations League matches with Italy and Germany.

The most recent of his 45 caps came in November 2020, but an upturn in form at club level has Dier in contention for a World Cup spot.

Dier's improved performances have coincided with the appointment of Conte last November, and the 28-year-old is confident he can continue his upward trajectory. 

"I am just looking forward to going and I think as my manager [Conte] said during the week, for me it is my ambition for this just to be a starting point for me," he said. 

"I think I can still do a lot more. Honestly, [a recall] wasn't what I was thinking about. 

"I was just thinking about being as good a player as I can be for Tottenham and everything else that happens is a consequence of that.

"I think that's the only thing I had to focus on and the only thing that was in my control. Everything else that happens, happens.

"I'm just thankful for the way my team-mates, coaching staff and everyone at Tottenham has supported me, pushed me and tried to help me get back to the national team."

Dier started all four of England's matches at Euro 2016 and was used six times at the 2018 World Cup, but he was not part of Southgate's squad for Euro 2020.

He is back involved with the Three Lions after performing at a consistent level across Tottenham's nine games this season, during which he has scored twice.

The most recent of those goals came in Saturday's 6-2 win against Leicester City, with Son Heung-min grabbing the headlines after scoring a 13-minute hat-trick.

And Dier joked Son, who was dropped for the first time this season after failing to score in his first eight outings, should start on the substitutes' bench regularly.

"We told him the manager should drop him more often if he scores a hat-trick every half an hour," Dier said.

"Everyone is delighted for him. Obviously for someone who lives for scoring goals it has been a difficult start to the season.

"I think that's no secret. But he's come back in an emphatic way today – the floodgates have opened."

Son Heung-min is not "undroppable", admits Tottenham boss Antonio Conte, following a tough start to the season for the forward.

Son was arguably the standout performer under Conte last season, helping to fire Spurs to a top-four finish and Champions League football.

His tally of 23 league goals saw him share the competition's top-scorer award with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. No player has had more shots without scoring in the Premier League this season than Son (17).

But Son has struggled to maintain those standards this season, failing to score in his six league appearances and providing just one top-flight assist.

With Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski pressing to start ahead of this weekend's clash with lowly Leicester City, Son's place is under question, and Conte hinted the 30-year-old could be taken out.

"There are no players that are undroppable," he stated. "This has to be very clear. There are no players that are undroppable. If I tell this, it's only to try to help my players

"[It's] to try to avoid injuries, to try to have players at the top of their form and to have a good performance. If I am telling this it is only to protect my players and to give them the possibility to be, in every moment, at the top."

One player who has flourished this term is defender Eric Dier, a former England mainstay whose form has seen him end a two-year exodus from the national setup with a recall from Gareth Southgate for the Three Lions' Nations League games against Italy and Germany.

Conte professed his pride in Dier's return to the England fold, adding that it validates the defender's impressive club performances, particularly with the 2022 World Cup looming.

"I'm really pleased because when my players are called up to the national teams, we are really proud," he added. "It means we are working very well, and we are trying to help the players to go with the national teams.

"In this case for Eric it was a really good achievement for him. For the rest I think my staff and I and team-mates are very happy for this call up to the national team."

Marcus Rashford remains "under consideration" for an England recall, though Gareth Southgate conceded the lack of game-time for several key players is "not ideal".

In the last national squad before the Qatar 2022 World Cup, there was no place for Manchester United attacker Rashford and club-mate Jadon Sancho.

Rashford is, however, struggling with a muscular problem. The 25-year-old has been in strong for this season, scoring three Premier League goals in six appearances.

A maiden call-up for Brentford attacker Ivan Toney and a recall for Tottenham's Eric Dier were among the more eye-catching inclusions by Southgate, who stressed the door is not shut for those others seeking a return to the fold in time to make the World Cup squad.

"There were certain players we wanted to keep involved this time, but that said, it doesn't mean that this is the end for some of the others who aren't involved," he stated.

"Marcus Rashford, for example, has shown some encouraging signs recently. He is a player we know well so if he can perform at a high level in the next few weeks, he of course will be under consideration."

Several of Southgate's regular squad members made the cut, such as United duo Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, alongside Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, all of whom have struggled for minutes this season.

Their crucial impact on last year's Euro 2020 campaign, however, has swayed Southgate, though he acknowledged it is not a "perfect situation".

"Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club," he added.

"It is not ideal, but we feel they have been, and can be, important players for us. It is not a perfect situation, but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.

Tottenham defender Dier ends a two-year absence from the national set-up, having been a member of the team that travelled to the 2018 World Cup, with Toney a new face altogether.

"With Eric, he has been playing well for a period of time," Southgate added. "We think it is a really close call across our centre-backs, and he has deserved to be picked back in the group.

"We know what a good character he is. He fits in with the culture and has great international experience and leadership qualities.

"With Ivan Toney, we have been tracking him for a long time. I had a good chat with Thomas Frank about him last season.

"His form and his qualities – not only his goalscoring but his technical ability, build-up play and aerial prowess – gives us a different threat to some of the other players we could pick."

England travel to Italy in a Euro 2020 final rematch before returning to Wembley to face Germany in their two Nations League encounters before the World Cup.

Ivan Toney has been handed his first England call-up ahead of the Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany this month.

The Brentford striker, who has not been capped by his country at any age level, has scored five Premier League goals this season – a tally only bettered by Erling Haaland (10) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (six).

Only Haaland (11) has been involved in more Premier League goals than Toney (five goals, two assists) so far this term. Toney is also averaging one goal contribution every 77 minutes this season, compared to one every 171 minutes last campaign.

Toney was overlooked by Gareth Southgate for England's Nations League outings in June, with Roma's Tammy Abraham named as back-up for captain Harry Kane.

But all three strikers will meet up with the squad for this month's matches, in which England will bid to avoid a humiliating relegation from Group A3. England play Italy on September 23 in Milan, before tackling Germany at Wembley three days later.

 

Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho has failed to force his way back into contention despite the Red Devils' improved Premier League form, while club-mate Marcus Rashford is absent after struggling with an injury.

United skipper Harry Maguire retains his place despite starting just two of his club's six Premier League games – both of which ended in defeat.

Maguire could be joined at the back by United team-mate Luke Shaw, who is one of four defenders to earn a recall to the 28-man squad, alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell and Eric Dier.

Regular goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is another who is absent through injury, with Nottingham Forest's on-loan shot-stopper Dean Henderson stepping in.

Chelsea's Conor Gallagher and Leicester City's James Justin drop out having featured in June's squad, leaving them with much work to do ahead of the World Cup beginning in November.

England squad: Dean Henderson (Nottingham Forest), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City); Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Tammy Abraham (Roma), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

Tottenham defender Eric Dier is appreciating the impact Antonio Conte has had on his game as he explained he feels 2021-22 has been his most consistent season.

Dier has featured in 26 Premier League games for Spurs this season, starting each of those matches.

Of those league appearances, 19 have come under Conte, with the 28-year-old only missing three top-flight games due to a thigh injury sustained in January.

No Tottenham player has featured in more defensive clean sheets than Dier's 11 in the league this season, while his 95 clearances is also way ahead of any team-mate, with Emerson Royal ranked second on 51.

Harry Kane is the only Spurs player to win more aerial duels than Dier's 52, with the centre-back making a team-high 60 headed clearances.

Only Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (1,885) has attempted more passes than Dier (1,616) for Spurs, with the latter tasked with helping to build attacking moves from his position in the centre of Conte's back three.

Dier turned in another strong display as Spurs beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday to move to within three points of fourth-placed Arsenal, and though he has missed out on Gareth Southgate's 25-man squad for England's fixtures this month, Conte believes the former Sporting CP defender will go to the World Cup in Qatar this year.

The centre-back is encouraged by Conte's support, as he went on to claim he is playing his best football since he arrived at the club in 2014, when he enjoyed a brilliant breakout season under Mauricio Pochettino.

"I feel for me this is consistently my best season I have had so far at Tottenham, not just as a defender but overall," Dier told the Evening Standard.

"I don't think I've ever shown the consistency in the performances that I have shown this season and I feel like my football is the best it has been in my opinion.

"It is always very nice when a manager, especially one like him, says those things, it gives me a lot of confidence, but the thing I pay most attention to from his words are that I have a lot of space for improvement and I think that is really the thing he says that I focus on the most.

"I want to fill that space, fill that potential, as much as possible, as much as he thinks possible."

England manager Gareth Southgate has named his provisional 33-man squad for the rearranged Euro 2020, which starts next month. 

The Three Lions boss has until midnight on June 1 to cut his squad down to 26, but he will have time to assess players in training ahead of friendlies against Austria and Romania on June 2 and June 6 respectively.

England then start their Euros campaign at Wembley on June 13, taking on Croatia. Scotland are next up in Group D, before they face the Czech Republic on June 22.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the data behind some of the notable inclusions – including a midfielder who could become England's youngest player at a major tournament – and eye-catching omissions from Southgate's preliminary selection.

Bellingham on course to break Owen's record

Jude Bellingham has enjoyed a stunning debut season at Borussia Dortmund following his move from Championship side Birmingham City for a reported €23million (£21m). 

He made 19 appearances in the Bundesliga, scoring once, and became the youngest English player to net in the Champions League when he struck against Manchester City in the quarter-finals, aged 17 years and 289 days. 

The midfielder made his England debut as a substitute against the Republic of Ireland in November, which he followed up with another appearance from the bench in the World Cup qualifying win over San Marino in March. 

Bellingham is expected to make Southgate's final squad and should he feature in any of the games – a near-certainity given the supreme confidence with which he has taken to elite-level football – he will break Michael Owen's 23-year record as the youngest player to feature for the Three Lions at a major tournament. 

He could also be joined by two other teenagers, with Arsenal's Bukayo Saka and Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood, who are both still yet to turn 20, also in Southgate's long list.

The inclusion of that trio meant the average age of the squad on Tuesday was just 25 years and 12 days. 

Alexander-Arnold storms back into contention

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was controversially left out of England's squad for the March internationals, but a strong end to the season saw him included in Southgate's pool of players this time around.

The Liverpool right-back certainly struggled in the early stages of the campaign, but he finished it having created more chances (77) than any other defender in the Premier League. 

He also had more goal involvements (two goals, seven assists) and tallied up more successful crosses (37) than any other defender, while only Leeds United's Luke Ayling (279) made more than his 258 recoveries. 

A surprise inclusion in defence was Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White. 

The 23-year-old quietly went about his business with Graham Potter's side and ended the campaign with the best combined tackles and interceptions ratio per 90 minutes (3.13) of any English centre back who played more than 900 minutes. He was significantly ahead of second-placed Harry Maguire (2.63), who has also been included in the squad despite injury concerns. 

White also has the highest average carry distance (11.4 metres) of that group of players, ahead of John Stones (11.2) and Maguire (11.1), while he also made the most carries which resulted in taking an opposition player on (18). A carry is defined as when a player travels five or more metres with the ball.

Everton defender Ben Godfrey was also selected for the provisional squad, with Southgate saying of the pair: "I think they're both exciting young defenders, they can play left, right, midfield in White's case.

"It's an opportunity for us to know them better. I think it works for everybody. Not knowing how long they'll be with us at this stage, but it'll be a fantastic experience for them."

'Difficult call' to leave Dier out

While a number of players will consider themselves unfortunate to miss out, James Maddison, Eric Dier, Danny Ings and Patrick Bamford were arguably the four most glaring omissions.

Dier, in particular, will feel aggrieved to have been snubbed, having been a key member in the run to the World Cup 2018 semi-finals and a regular in the squad since, but he has struggled for form for Tottenham this term.

He gave away two penalties in his 28 appearances in 2020-21 – only Kyle Walker and team-mate Davinson Sanchez (three) conceded more in the English top flight.

Explaining his decision to not call up Dier, Southgate said: "Unfortunately, I don't think his season has been strong enough to be in the squad. It's a difficult call because I know how much he brings to the whole group and when you're at a tournament those team players are critical."

Maddison has not always been a favourite of Southgate's, meanwhile.

The attacking midfielder managed eight goals and five assists in 31 Premier League appearances for Leicester City this season. However, of the seven other midfielders to have been directly involved in more goals than Maddison's 13, three of them – Phil Foden (14), James Ward-Prowse (15) and Jack Grealish (16) – are part of England's squad.

Maddison created an average of 2.18 chances per 90 minutes in an injury hampered 2020-21 league campaign, which is again below the likes of Mason Mount (2.71) and Grealish (3.34), but ahead of Foden (2.01), Ward-Prowse (1.58) and Jesse Lingard (1.14).

FA Cup Winners 2021 Dreams really do come true  pic.twitter.com/EHdXsgKTEg

— James Maddison (@Madders10) May 15, 2021

"It's an area of the pitch where we've got unbelievable competition for places," Southgate said. "We just feel there are players ahead of James in those areas."

As for Ings and Bamford, the pair scored 12 and 17 top-flight goals for Southampton and Leeds respectively this season.

Bamford's average of 0.5 goals per 90 minutes and Ings' 0.49 ranks them favourably among English strikers in the Premier League, ahead of Marcus Rashford (0.34), Greenwood (0.34) and Ollie Watkins (0.38), who they were competing with for a squad place.

"There is of course Danny and Patrick, who have had very good seasons," Southgate said. "But we didn't see any reason to change these positions from the players who did very well with us in the three qualifiers that we won in March."

Jose Mourinho is already plotting his moves in his first transfer window at Roma, where he will take charge at the end of the season.

The Portuguese reportedly is hoping to bring players he already knows to Serie A.

Could a pair of Red Devils and Spurs be headed to the Italian capital? 

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES FAMILIAR FACES

Jose Mourinho may turn to his Premier League connections to bolster his first Roma side. 

Manchester United pair Nemanja Matic and David de Gea are among the players with Old Trafford legacies on Mourinho's wish list, according to the Daily Mirror and Todofichajes. 

Among more recent Mourinho pupils, Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are among the Spurs players who stand as possibilities, says Corriere dello Sport. 

Football London also linked Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura with possible Roma moves as former Tottenham head coach Mourinho prepares to replace Paulo Fonseca ahead of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Corriere dello Sport reports Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Spain international Fabian has been heavily linked with Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Fellow midfielder Milinkovic-Savic, meanwhile, continues to be linked with the likes of Inter, Juventus, United and PSG.

Yves Bissouma could be headed to Manchester City as a replacement for Fernandinho, the Daily Star claims. City are said to be confident they can strike a £30million deal for the 24-year-old Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder. The Daily Express, however, has Arsenal leading the fight for the Mali international, with TottenhamWest Ham and Everton also potential landing spots. 

Chelsea may bring back striker Armando Broja on a lucrative contract after loaning the 19-year-old to Eredivisie outfit Vitesse Arnhem this term, Fabrizio Romano says, but other big clubs are circling as well.

- Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini is considering a move to MLS after his contract ends in June, Calciomercato reports. 

Miralem Pjanic could leave Barcelona as Sport claims the midfield outcast attracts interest from the likes of Chelsea and Inter

- Barca are considering the idea of allowing Francisco Trincao to leave on loan amid interest from Milan and Roma, according to Calciomercato. 

- RMC Sport says Milan have reached an agreement in principle to sign Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan at the end of the season. It comes amid doubts over the future of star Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is set to become a free agent. Yet to renew, Donnarumma has been linked with Juve, Tottenham, Chelsea and United.

Jose Mourinho will be back in management next season after landing a three-year deal at Roma just 15 days after being sacked by Tottenham.

The Portuguese will take the helm at Roma for the 2021-22 campaign after the Serie A club announced the 58-year-old as Paulo Fonseca's replacement. 

It will be the next chapter in a career that has yielded major silverware across Europe, but one that has taken a notable downturn after a trophy-less spell at Spurs.

The cracks had already started to show for Mourinho prior to his Spurs exit on April 19, which came following a series of comments from the former Inter boss that hinted at significant unrest at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Here is a selection of the quotes which capture the Special One's descent into ignominy, a fate Mourinho will be desperate to avoid in the Eternal City as he seeks to recapture his glory days. 

 

SAME COACH, DIFFERENT PLAYERS

After Spurs stayed painfully true to form and surrendered a 2-1 lead to draw 2-2 with lowly Newcastle United, Mourinho promptly laid the blame at the feet of his players.

When it was put to him that his teams are normally good at holding onto leads, he said: "Same coach, different players."

YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO FEED YOUR KIDS

In one of the more bizarre post-match media conferences, Mourinho started ranting about the importance of feeding your kids.

It was after Spurs had lost 3-1 to Manchester United, with Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer criticising Son Heung-min for what he considered a bit of play acting.

The Norwegian said if his child had behaved like that, he would have deprived them of their food. It was, evidently, a joke.

Mourinho addressed this, entirely unprompted, but for him it was no laughing matter.

"It is very, very sad," he said. "I think it's really sad that you don't ask me about it. It's really sad that you don't have the moral honesty to treat me the same way you treat others.

"I just want to say, Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole, because I think a father – I am a father – you have always to feed your kids, it doesn't matter what they do.

"If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments."

IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, OR IS IT?

Modesty appears to be an alien concept to Mourinho, who had no hesitation in comparing himself to NASA scientists.

Addressing the seemingly justified criticism he was receiving in light of Spurs' underwhelming campaign, the Portuguese went on the defensive.

"I don't think anybody is going to discuss rocket science with the guys from NASA, with everybody around the world," he said.

"They think they can discuss football with one of the most important managers in the game. That's the beauty of football.

"I got used to it, I appreciate that, so that's fine for me."

MOURINISTAS LOVE ME

The criticism never seemed to leave Mourinho too disheartened, such is the strength of his conviction that he has an army of loyal followers.

He calls them 'Mourinistas', and they are the source of his strength.

He said: "Honestly, I get my strength from myself but mainly from the people that I love and the people who I know they love me, even if many of them I don't know them, I haven't met them.

"I used to call them the 'Mourinistas', because in Portugal we use 'ista' in the end of the name of the club that we love, to express the support."

BALE SAGA

Gareth Bale's signing on loan from Real Madrid gave Spurs fans hope of a genuine title challenge, but that too proved a false dawn.

There were many hints that all was not well with Bale's second coming at Spurs, with Mourinho left fuming by an Instagram post in which the Wales star had suggested he had been involved in full training, despite the head coach insisting he was not fit.

"There was a contradiction between the post and the reality," said Mourinho.

SORROW SHOWS AFTER DINAMO BLOW

It wasn't all strength and defiance, though, as was evident after the shock Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb.

"To say I feel sad is not enough," he lamented. "What I feel is much more than sadness."

INDIVIDUAL MISTAKES

Going back to January, the willingness to turn on his own players was clear for all to see.

After a 1-1 draw with struggling Fulham, Mourinho saw "individual mistakes", though he did not confess that any were his own.

"There are things that are individual, that are down to individual qualities and individual mistakes," he said. "Basically I cannot say much more than that."

DIER DISAGREEMENT

After Eric Dier sat out Spurs' 2-0 win over West Brom in February, Mourinho said the England international was suffering a crisis of confidence.

However, in an open show of dissent, Dier insisted: "Confidence-wise, I don't feel like I've been in a bad place all season."

Tottenham defender Eric Dier has questioned the "unfair" criticism he has received since shifting to centre-back but accepts he can still improve in that position.

The England international, formerly deployed in holding midfield, was dropped towards the end of Jose Mourinho's tenure for what the ex-Spurs boss put down to "a lack of confidence" following some high-profile errors.

Dier returned to the side for Mourinho's final two games in charge, however, and has retained his place in the heart of defence for interim manager Ryan Mason's first three games, including the EFL Cup final loss to Manchester City.

He impressed in Sunday's 4-0 win over Sheffield United by making more clearances (five) than any player on the field, while he was involved in four times as many aerial duels (eight) as any other Spurs player, 75 per cent of which he won.

After looking more commanding since being recalled to the starting line-up, Dier feels that he has been harshly judged in the past.

Asked if Tottenham fans have seen the best of him since moving into a deeper position, Dier said: "I think they've seen it in periods. I've got mixed emotions towards it really. 

"At times, I feel like it's a bit unfair and a bit – I'm trying to think of the right words – sometimes I've made a mistake or something has led to a goal and one mistake is talked about like it's four or five.

"I've felt that at times. As defenders, you're always going to make mistakes at times and the most important thing is how you react to them."

While Dier has not made any errors that directly resulted in a goal this term, he has conceded two penalties in the Premier League, the joint-most in the division.

This is likely partly to blame for criticism of Dier, though he has also proven himself ready to put his body on the line for Spurs.

Dier has made an average of 1.1 blocks per 90 minutes in the Premier League this term, with only Japhet Tanganga averaging more among Tottenham players – but he has only featured four times.

The 27-year-old's tackle-success rate of 65 per cent is similarly high in the context of the Spurs squad, with Moussa Sissoko (72.7 per cent) and Giovani Lo Celso (81.8 per cent) the only individuals to have made more than four appearances to post a better record.

"I'm really happy to have played the last few matches. I've felt good in those games. I want to be playing, I want to be performing to a level I know I can," Dier added.

"I think I had a very good first six months and it dropped a little bit for a few games, but I feel like I've been back to a good place for a couple of months now.

"I believe I can still perform to a much higher level. I'm happy to be playing, obviously, and I've just got to keep working hard and improving."

Tottenham defender Eric Dier has disagreed with Jose Mourinho's claim that he was suffering a crisis of confidence.

Mourinho mentioned Dier as one of his players that feels "more than anyone else, these little moments of confidence, of crisis".

The Portuguese coach made the comments after Spurs' 2-0 win over West Brom earlier this month, a match that Dier sat out as an unused substitute.

The England international has returned to the starting line-up in four of Spurs' five games since and Dier rejects the suggestion his confidence was low.

"Confidence-wise, I don't feel like I've been in a bad place all season," Dier said.

"I've gone through periods where I've had low confidence in the past so I know what it feels like and I haven't felt that this season.

"The most important thing is the reality and people's perception versus reality can be different sometimes.

"We've gone through a difficult moment but it's important to keep things in context.

"I feel like I've been happy with my level for the majority of the season.

"There's been a dip in it, which correlates with the dip with the team in general and our performances in general.

"I don't think my confidence has ever been in a negative place where it's been in previous times."

The 27-year-old admits the North Londoners' form has been below-par, with Spurs slipping to five losses in their past six league games.

That slump has resulted in Mourinho's team falling to ninth in the Premier League table, but Dier insists it is not for the want of trying.

"I'm a big boy, this is a ruthless profession and I focus on trying to do the best that I can every time I get an opportunity," he added.

"I always try to be the best version of myself, every day in training I try to improve constantly.

"I know I can have good games and bad games but I'm always relaxed because I know that I give everything I do have.

"Everything on the outside doesn't affect me so much because I'm confident in myself and I'm confident that I always try to give the best of myself.

"Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes badly but my effort never changes."

A spectacular goal from Dele Alli helped Tottenham to a 4-0 win over Wolfsberger on Thursday that secured their place in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Alli scored a stunning bicycle kick in the first half before setting up Carlos Vinicius and substitute Gareth Bale in the second as Jose Mourinho's side eased to an 8-1 aggregate victory.

Spurs' third win in nine games in all competitions, capped by a second from Vinicius, was a routine but welcome one, particularly for Mourinho, who was able to rest stars including Harry Kane and Son Heung-min as he looks to put together a string of results and ease some of the speculation over his future.

Spurs have made something of a habit of starting well this season – in fact, no Premier League team can match their tally of 11 goals in the first 10 minutes of matches in all competitions – but they have rarely broken the deadlock with such a flourish.

Alli played the ball out wide to Matt Doherty, brought down his cross and sent a sublime overhead kick out of the reach of goalkeeper Manuel Kuttin and into the left-hand corner.

Vinicius should have made it 2-0 before the break after rounding Kuttin, but the covering Gustav Henriksson did superbly to clear the striker's effort off the line.

He made no mistake early in the second half, though nodding in Alli's deep cross shortly after Eric Dier had been fortunate to escape punishment for taking out Cheikhou Dieng when the forward was through on Joe Hart's goal.

Spurs got their 100th Europa League goal 17 minutes from time, Bale sweeping an emphatic finish high into the net from Alli's pass after Harry Winks had pressed Wolfsberger into giving the ball away in their own half.

Mourinho handed debuts to Marcel Lavinier and Nile John, while 16-year-old Dane Scarlett was given more first-team experience, the latter setting up Vinicius to blast home his second and Spurs' fourth with seven minutes left.

 

What does it mean? Real work starts now for Mourinho

Defeat at this stage of the competition would have piled further pressure onto Mourinho, although their progress looked almost certain after that first-leg win.

As soon as Alli's magical opening goal effectively killed off any lingering Wolfsberger hopes, Spurs' focus will naturally have drifted towards a key few weeks in their season.

With games against Burnley, Fulham and Crystal Palace up next, this is the chance for Mourinho's men to build some momentum before the north London derby on March 14.

Alli emulates Giroud to give Mourinho food for thought

Not willing to be outdone by a London rival, Alli followed Olivier Giroud's overhead kick for Chelsea against Atletico Madrid with a quite superb version of his own to open the scoring.

It was his first goal since December and the only time he has scored in a game he started for the club since last March. Given he then assisted the next two goals, perhaps it could be a step on the road to redemption in the eyes of the man in charge.

Spurs cruise despite flat Dier

This was a game played mostly at a pedestrian pace, but Dier had one or two uneasy moments at the heart of the defence.

He was lucky not even to concede a foul for bringing down Dieng at 1-0 and lost Dejan Joveljic twice thereafter to give Wolfsberger some half-chances.

What's next?

Spurs host Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday, when Wolfsberger are also back in league action at home to Altach.

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