Eric Dier has branded supporter criticism of Gareth Southgate as ‘crazy talk’ after the England boss has been attacked for his overly defensive approach, being too loyal to certain player or even his political stances.
The 28-year-old was speaking just two days before the Three Lions’ first World Cup match against Iran at Khalifa International Stadium.
He went as far as to back Southgate even for leaving him out of his Euros squad, a moment that he also described as ‘one of the worst’ in his career.
“Firstly, I think it’s crazy talk because what he’s done the last two tournaments, people lose their perception,” Dier told reporters at England’s Al Wakrah training base in Doha. “It changes so quickly.
“You’ve got to remember what England were doing before. He has taken England to the semi final of a World Cup and the final of a Euros and at that point we are talking about small margins that change the outcome of those results. It is just the world we live in.
“The criticism is crazy after a small run of results considering how England have performed at the last two tournaments and he was at the forefront of that. That conversation is crazy.
“People ask me if I was upset that I didn’t go to the Euros and I say well it was obviously the right decision because they got to the final. So you have got to keep things in perspective.
“It’s difficult nowadays because everything is now, now, now but you’ve got to remember 2016 and where we are now.”
That journey gives England hope after they made the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018 and final of the following Euros in 2021, losing on penalties to Italy.
Meanwhile, the tournament in Qatar was engulfed in a political row again on Saturday after FIFA president Gianni Infantino hit back at critics of the tournament.
The beer ban, track record on human rights relating to migrant worker deaths and LGBTQ+ issues have all been debated ahead of kick-off for the tournament on Sunday afternoon.
England and Wales are part of a European alliance to show solidarity with their LGBTQ+ fans by wearing a rainbow ‘One Love’ armband.
They risk punishment by defying FIFA on the issue but France have pulled out after their captain Hugo Lloris explained he wouldn’t wear the armband.
Dier, his Tottenham teammate, backs Lloris despite being happy with his country’s stance: “I completely respect what he wants to do. That’s important.
“I respect everyone’s point of view and I’m very open to listen to what they believe is right and wrong. I know Hugo very well, I’ve played with him all my time at Spurs, and I have great respect for him.
“I completely respect whatever it is that he would like to do or his thoughts on it. I have complete respect.”