In the midst of Tottenham B's thorough dismantling of a full-strength Monaco side at White Hart Lane yesterday, there was a bit of a scary moment. Starting defensive mid Eric Dier ended up on the ground writhing in pain after a hard challenge towards the end of the first half.
Thankfully it appears we don't have too much to worry about. Although Dier was subbed off late in the first half for Nabil Bentaleb, he was up and running around just prior and the substitution appeared to be entirely precautionary.
Eric Dier taken off after knock on foot - "I'm fine gaffer" he said to Pochettino as came off, but boss not taking any risks #bbcfootball— Alistair Bruce-Ball (@alibruceball) December 10, 2015
I have a couple of reactions.
1. Thank Christ.
In the first half of this season, Eric Dier has displayed on numerous occasions why he's so important to this Tottenham Hotspur side. In the rare matches where Dier has had to miss a league match, Spurs have not looked as sharp or as defensively sound as they have when he's been on the pitch. It's a credit to his abilities that he's viewed as important enough not only to start every league match in which he's been available, but also most of the Europa ties, too. That said, an injury to Dier would be a huge blow to this Spurs side, so I'm super glad he's not hurt.
2. That was a good sub.
As awful as that moment was, it was gratifying to see Pochettino recognize how important Dier is to this side and to sub him off as a means of protecting his prize asset. In the end, it's a Europa League match that Spurs were winning 3-0 at the time. It's cute that Dier was quick to assure his gaffer that he's okay, but there was no reason to keep him on the pitch.
3. What the heck was he doing starting this match?
In a match that Pochettino obviously viewed as an opportunity to blood in some younger talent and give some rehab minutes to players coming back from injury, it did seem odd that Dier was one of the few starters to get the nod. This was a prime opportunity for him to be rested for the upcoming holiday fixture crunch. Thankfully, he got that rest anyway, but I would've rather not taken the risk.