Dier and Walker could hold key for Tottenham next season

England midfielder Eric Dier” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ben Sutherland 

Harry Kane was the Tottenham Hotspur player expected to be the leading light for England at Euro 2016 following his outstanding Premier League campaign.

The 22-year-old finished as the top flight’s leading goalscorer with 25 strikes in 38 matches, guiding his side to third place in the table and a Champions League place.

Kane led the line for the Three Lions in their pre-tournament friendlies, notching one goal against Portugal as he attempted to link up with Jamie Vardy in the final third.

He appeared to be in good form heading into the opener against Russia, but struggled to get up to the pace of the action in Marseille, despite playing the entire 90 minutes.

Kane endured similar problems against Wales leading to his withdrawal at half time, forcing him to watch as his replacements up front Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge won the game for Roy Hodgson’s men.

The striker was left out of England’s final group game with Slovakia as the Three Lions failed to break down the stubborn resilience of Jan Kozak’s side.

Kane must elevate the level of his form to ensure that Hodgson’s men are able to battle late into the tournament or be regarded as one of the major flops of the competition.

Two players that will definitely not be considered disappointments are Eric Dier and Kyle Walker, with both enjoying impressive displays to date.

Dier has been a rock in front of the back four, breaking up the play of the opposition as well as scoring England’s opening goal of the tournament with a stunning free kick.

Walker has been his side’s most potent weapon in the final third due to his marauding runs down the right flank, always offering an outlet while remaining solid in his defensive duties.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted with form the duo have shown, especially given the consistency of their play in the Premier League last season.

The pair will continue to be key players in Tottenham’s push to win their first top-flight crown since 1961 after falling narrowly short last term.

Pochettino’s men are backed at 15/2 by 32Red to win the Premier League in the next campaign, due to the quality and continuity of their squad.

Walker will have to remain at his best throughout the campaign, although he has shown that being pushed for his starting spot in the England team has brought out his peak form.

Nathaniel Clyne had a solid campaign for Liverpool, and appeared to have the inside track in securing the starting position for Euro 2016.

However, Walker got the nod ahead of the 25-year-old and has ensured that it was the right decision from Hodgson, despite a good showing from the Reds player against Slovakia.

The 26-year-old faces the same situation at White Hart Lane next season due to the presence of Kieran Trippier, who showed promise in his first season at the club.

Walker has displayed competition brings out the best in him, and Pochettino will certainly hope that will continue towards an outstanding season.

Sides that have won the Premier League have always had a strong performer in the defensive-midfield role, with Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira in the late 90s and early 2000s, along with the likes of Claude Makelele, Nemanja Matic and even Danny Drinkwater at Leicester City last term.

As a result, the rise of Dier will be an important factor if Tottenham are to win the top-flight crown.

His performances for England have been exceptional in front of the back four, using his physical traits and ability with the ball to attempt to allow the attacking players to flourish.

The 22-year-old has taken a large stride forward in his development in France, and should the Three Lions advance to the latter stages of the tournament, he will have had a large say in the matter.

Pochettino will be hopeful that the midfielder can avoid burnout, considering his importance at club and country, although the signing of Victor Wanyama will ease the burden on the youngster.

Tottenham built their success last season around their strength at the back, and that will be expected to continue in their charge for the crown.

Dier will hold one of the vital roles, along with Walker, in attempting to make history at White Hart Lane in 2017.