Eric Dier has expressed his happiness about returning to action for Tottenham Hotspur after a period he describes as the toughest of his career.
Since the turn of the year, Dier has missed multiple games with a combination of issues including appendicitis, tonsillitis and a hip injury.
The midfielder made a rare start against Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Unfortunately he struggled and was substituted midway through the second half – we gave him the worst mark out of 10 in our player ratings.
But Dier’s return to fitness should prove useful for the run-in due to his versatility and the injury problems Mauricio Pochettino is currently dealing with.
And the 25-year-old has spoken of his own joy after playing for 61 minutes at the Etihad over the weekend.
“I’m so happy to be back. It’s been the most difficult four months of my career and that says a lot about how lucky I’ve been up to this point to stay away from injuries and illnesses,” Dier told the club’s official website.
“I think overall I’ve been very lucky and that’s the way I look at it.
“It’s been a very difficult period but at the same time a period where I’ve been able to learn a lot of things, re-assess a lot of things, learn about myself and that’s what I’ve tried to do. Touch wood, I can kick on now and help the team.
“As I said, I’ve been so lucky to always be fit and available and every player will have periods like this but for someone who prides himself on always being fit and available, it’s been difficult.
“Everyone has been fantastic, the boys have been incredible and it’s been nerve-wracking watching some of those games!”
Tottenham welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to their new stadium on Tuesday night, but we don’t think Dier will be in the startling line-up – check out our predicted XI here.
Pochettino may be earmarking the trip to Bournemouth – the league match that falls between the Champions League semi-final fixtures against Ajax – as a good game to give Dier 90 minutes.