Eric Dier is at a crossroads in his career and his confrontation with a fan could cost him badly.
I don’t know if the FA will make a scapegoat of him but they can’t allow players to go into the crowd like that. I’d be surprised if he gets away with it.
Not so long ago Dier was a shoo-in for England. He scored the winning penalty at the World Cup, and everything was great.
Right now he doesn’t look like making the England squad – and if he gets a lengthy ban he’s got no chance of going to the Euros.
I think he’s good enough. I would take him as a utility player because he can play well in a few different positions.
But the next few weeks are big for him and his career. He needs to be playing as many games as possible. But if he gets a long ban he can’t play any.
You can’t do what he did. It wasn’t just a rush of blood. It’s taken him a long time to climb all those flights of stairs and have a go at the guy.
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If his brother was in danger then fair play to him. You can’t punish him for that.
But if it’s just a guy mouthing off then no, I’m sorry, you just have to swallow it, and he’ll end up with a ban.
I don’t really have much sympathy. You’re going to get stick in this game. That’s just the way it works. His brother has to realise that as well.
My mum and dad once had to leave the ground at half time when I was manager of Walsall because the abuse got so bad.
It was atrocious. But you can’t go into the stands and confront fans. There’s a line you don’t cross.
I remember when Eric Cantona went into the crowd like it was yesterday.
I was in treatment for drink and drugs at the time. I was sitting watching TV in bed and I saw him do that kung fu kick. You didn’t hear much about me for the next few weeks!
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What Eric did was obviously much worse, and Dier hasn’t physically assaulted anyone.
I just think it shows you that it’s not a good environment at Spurs right now. That doesn’t happen when you’re winning every week.
But they had just lost and gone out of the FA Cup so tensions were high. It still shocked me though.
Dier comes across as such a calm character and you only hear good things about his temperament really.
If his brother is getting beaten up I can understand it. But if they are just having an argument then no, you just can’t get involved.
You can’t steam up eight flights of stairs just because someone has said something you don’t like.
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I thought Jose Mourinho handled it right. He can’t afford to lose another player with the injuries they’ve had.
He obviously won’t want Dier punished by Spurs, and he said what he did was wrong. He’ll be hoping the FA let him off the hook.
I’m sure Mourinho and the club are taking it seriously. But I bet his team-mates have had a good laugh with him about it.
They’ve probably had a laugh and a joke about it since because that’s the best way to defuse the tension.
But it wouldn’t surprise me if the FA throw the book at him now because he could have provoked something worse. It will be interesting to see what they do.
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No Liverpool moaning
I hope I don’t hear any Liverpool fans having a moan this season. There’s not a lot wrong with their team.
I know they’ve just lost three of their last four games and gone out of the FA Cup, but they’re going to win the league for the first time in about 30 years!
To win that takes some doing. It doesn’t matter what happens in the Champions League, it’s the Premier League where it counts.
The Champions League final was second versus fourth last season and Liverpool lost more games getting there than they did in the whole of the Premier League.
It’s all about winning the league for them. The hardest thing there is to win – 38 games of graft. The Premier League is the ultimate.
When you are used to winning games, losing them does affect you, and they lost a big one against Chelsea.
But the run they were on was always going to end. They weren’t exactly battering teams were they? They fell over the line at home to West Ham.
To go unbeaten over a whole season was always a tall order. That’s why it was so mindblowing when Arsenal did it. They were on it every single week. It shows you how hard it is.
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Unless Mikel Arteta gets some players in and out of Arsenal this summer this team is going to finish seventh or eighth next season.
I’m not surprised Mesut Ozil’s agent says he’s not going anywhere though. Where can he go on that money?
If he was on £50,000-a-week everybody would be trying to sign him but because he’s on £350,000 everyone hates him.
Arteta needs to get players out though, and I don’t think he’ll be too upset that Sokratis says he’ll go if he’s not playing enough.
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I like players who are honest like that to be fair to him. It’s better than being prepared to just sit around picking up your money.
Arsenal need to get their wage bill down and get rid of players who don’t have a future there. So Sokratis is expendable.
But I hope Arteta gets to bring in a few too because he hasn’t really got his own players there yet.
He will need a good pre-season and some new signings but I can see progress already even though they went out of the Europa League.
- Paul Merson was speaking to Starsport's Paul Brown in an exclusive interview
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