Eric Dier has opened up about his bromance with Tottenham teammate Dele Alli as he defended the midfielder against diving accusations.
An extensive interview conducted by the Times showed how relatable the Spurs star is as he explained how Mauricio Pochettino's squad are always talking about less football-oriented topics such as Brexit and technology.
It is his comments about Alli that immediately draw the eye, however, as Dier explains how well he and his fellow England international get on.
Much has been made of the pair's friendship since Alli moved to north London, and Dier revealed how their different characters have brought them together.
He said: “That’s one of the beautiful things about football is that I’ve come from where I have and Dele’s come from where he has and here we are together today. We are pretty different characters. I guess opposites attract. And at the same time we get on very well.
"Dele has an aura about him where you just warm to him. He’s just a very likeable boy.
I bet all these English pundits who have recently decided that Dele Alli diving isn’t a problem will be singing a different tune when England get kicked out of the WC on a penalty won off a dive.— 7amkickoff (@7amkickoff) March 8, 2018
"The beautiful thing about Dele is it’s not a show, it’s just who he is. He never changes. He’s the same person now as he was when I met him four years ago."
Alli has come for fierce criticism for his diving antics over the past couple of years, but Dier claimed that his friend wasn't a cheat and merely wanted to win matches.
He continued: “Yes, the diving thing. I think it’s a bit exaggerated. Obviously, there have been some cases of it, but all these attacking players have been through the same criticism in their career. Dele’s not always going to be perfect, not always going to make the right decision, but he’s 21.
“There’s so much focus on anything that Dele does that when he dives, there’s a crazy amount of attention on it which I think is a bit unfair. He doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. And he’s definitely not a cheat. He just wants to win.”
Spurs crashed out of the Champions League after losing to Juventus 4-3 over two legs this week, but Dier admitted that such a defeat had been put into perspective by the tragic death of Davide Astori.
The ex-Fiorentia captain passed away almost a week ago due to cardiac arrest, and the 23-year-old added that football paled in significance to events such as that.
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He said: “When you’re involved in the world of football it’s such a bubble that sometimes you have to step back to realise there’s so much more to life. You saw the terrible news of the Fiorentina captain [Davide Astori] who’s passed away, and that puts everything into perspective.
“The football community came together for the Fiorentina captain [including a minute’s silence at Wembley]. One of the beautiful things about football is that the football community comes together for all these kind of things.”