Tottenham midfielder Dier on behind closed doors experience

Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier after the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.

Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier after the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley. - Credit: PA

‘Strange’ is how Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier described his previous experience of playing competitive football behind closed doors, yet he also feels that a player can learn a great deal from the unique situation.

With the Premier League campaign resuming this week and the competition set to be played in front of empty stands for the first time in its history, Dier spoke candidly of his previous behind-closed-doors encounter - a UEFA Nations League clash against Croatia back in October, 2018, while on international duty with England - to give us an understanding of the various nuances that transpire for a player when there is no crowd.

“I found it quite interesting because, in my experience, while we were playing against Croatia - and obviously they were speaking Croatian - you could still tell a lot more about the players you were playing against,” Dier told the club website.

“You get to understand different parts of their character because you can hear everything. Normally in that game environment, at times, you struggle to even hear your own team-mates, but then, you could hear everything being said.

“Take someone like Luka Modric - I didn’t take him to be the character he was when I was just watching, he was very vocal, very demanding of his team-mates.

“I’d played against him quite a few times and I never really had that feeling from him.

“However, playing in an empty stadium, I got that side of him. That really stood out to me. You can hear each other a lot better, which at times is helpful, but the sound of the ball and the sound of everyone moving around is quite strange.

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“Obviously you want to play in full stadiums, you want to feel and be part of the emotion of the crowd, that’s what makes playing for us so special. But there is always that intensity, drive and willingness to win.

“That’s always there, with or without fans. That will always exist.”