Roy Hodgson has named Tottenham Hotspur defender-turned-midfielder Eric Dier in his England squad for the first time for next week’s testing friendlies against European heavyweights Spain and France.
The 21-year-old has impressed in a holding role this season, breaking up play and protecting his back four expertly to help Spurs to the second best defensive record in the Premier League after 11 games.
Dier’s rise into the senior ranks is remarkable considering that he was not deemed good enough to get into Gareth Southgate’s squad for England Under 21s’ Euro 2015 disappointment this past summer.
After spells at both centre-back and right-back in his debut season at White Hart Lane, Dier the midfielder has excelled for Spurs, making 34 tackles, 25 interceptions and nine blocks in the league.
Dier is one of four Tottenham players in the 23-man party, alongside Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Kyle Walker, but there is no room for Andros Townsend due to his lack of club action, as BBC Sport reports.
Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph returns despite having only played four minutes of football since September, while Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is again included after 11 goals this season.
According to BBC Sport, Everton defender Phil Jagielka, Arsenal speedsters Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Liverpool forwards Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge all miss out with injury.
Reigning champions Spain and hosts France represent England’s first significant tests on the way to Euro 2016 next summer after an easy qualifying group in which they won all 10 of their matches.
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)
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