England defender Eric Dier has thanked Gareth Southgate for his support during his disciplinary hearing after climbing into the stands to confront a Tottenham supporter.
Dier left the pitch after Spurs’ FA Cup exit to Norwich in March when he saw his brother Patrick in a dispute with a fan.
The Football Association charged him with improper conduct and Southgate went up against his employers as he appeared as a character witness on Dier’s behalf during an independent review, where the defender ended up receiving a four-match ban.
Southgate’s show of support has been a regular trend over the last two years as the 26-year-old suffered a constant string of injury and health issues.
“I got a fantastic amount of support from Gareth, my family, other players I know from England squads and within my team as well,” he said of his journey over the last two seasons.
“I was very lucky to have a fantastic support base and I am very grateful to Gareth for the support he has given me, even with my incident with the FA as well.
“I am very grateful for that and very lucky to be supported by many great people in different areas.”
Dier has worked his way back into Southgate’s plans and now finds himself a first-choice centre-back with Sunday’s UEFA Nations League game against Belgium coming up.
There was almost two years in the wilderness for him, which came as a big low after the extraordinary highs of scoring England’s winning penalty in their World Cup shootout win over Colombia.
“It has been a bit of a journey since then,” he said.
“You can’t get much higher than the feeling at the World Cup and from there I went through some difficult times, mainly with my health and that put me in a very difficult position for a while.
“I have been working very hard to where I was at that moment and go past that so I am very happy to be back with England and the feeling in the last camp and being back and then getting the call this time has been even more special because of what I went through.”