Watford Boss Marco Silva insists that he is not surprised by Eric Dier's rapid success and emergence as a key player for both club and country.
The Tottenham man made his way through the ranks at Sporting Lisbon after moving to Portugal as a youngster, before relocating to North London in 2014 after being signed by Tottenham Hotspur.
Since returning to England in 2014, the 23-year-old has become a key part of Mauricio Pochetino's plans and even captained the national side in their friendlies against Brazil and world champions Germany last month.
Silva took over at Lisbon just months before Dier departed the capital for Tottenham, but in the short period that the two were together, the midfielder hailed his manager as 'fantastic' for him.
Silva, who followed in the Englishman's footsteps after accepting a job in the Premier League with Hull City, also had much praise for his former player.
“When Eric was with me, I saw since the first day that he was an amazing boy in that moment, one player with fantastic skills, for me it is not a surprise what he has achieved at Tottenham and what he has achieved with the national team as well.
“In that moment he was a big miss for me at Sporting when he left in the pre-season, I tried everything to keep him at Sporting because he would have been a really important player for me and my ideas but at the moment he had a dream to come to Tottenham and the Premier League.”
The Watford boss welcomes Tottenham to Vicarage road for their league encounter and building up to the game he has explained why he believes going through the youth academy of a foreign club has helped Dier flourish and improve so significantly since returning to England.
The 40-year-old stated: “I’m happy because he has improved a lot his football,
“He proves every day and with Tottenham and the national team how good a player he is and I am happy because not only is he a good player, a fantastic player he is a very good boy as well and a very good professional.
“I think you don’t have a lot of examples like Eric. Maybe he is the only one to start really early in Portugal at Sporting but after he came here. I think it is important for him and he has said every time that the moments he was in Portugal were really important for him to grow up and understand better some important things in football.”
Watford goes into the game knowing a win will move them to level on points with Spurs, however, that will be no easy accomplishment as Tottenham will be eager to put in a strong performance to get their league campaign back on track.