In a new interview with The Guardian’s David Hytner, Eric Dier discussed an unusual series of ailments that have kept him out of squads—and out of form—for most of 2019. In the late autumn of last year, many Spurs players were coping with upset stomachs, and Eric Dier thought that he had come down with one until a splitting pain in his stomach alarmed him the day of Tottenham’s match against Burnley. He was treated quickly and well for his perforated appendix, but the recovery from his surgery would prove more unsettling than the original illness itself.
“It was just very difficult afterwards. I kept on getting ill. My immune system just really struggled with the medicine after the appendix and I kept on getting ill. People said I was injured but I was never injured. I just kept on falling ill because of it, which was very frustrating,” Dier told Hytner.
Dier has barely played since then, and when he has, it has mostly been in poor form and in poor team performances. Chalk that up to the bizarre experience of being battered over and over by setbacks: Dier says that the succession of illnesses and injuries “wasn’t a normal thing for anyone. . . a very strange experience.” One can imagine how awful it was for him. To be sidelined for months by a recurring series of illnesses such that there wasn’t even an injury to point the finger at must have been as mentally traumatizing as it was physically frustrating.
That said, he has shown in the past what he’s capable of at his best: a great work-rate, on-field leadership, and skills in the pivot that shore up Tottenham’s defense. Having an opportunity now to fight for a spot in the Spurs side will allow Dier to show fans that he means it when he says, “I’ve felt for a while that I’m on my way back.”