Eric Dier risks wrath of Tottenham fans with big Bukayo Saka claim ahead of North London Derby

Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Eric Dier has heaped praise on the shoulders of Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka ahead of Sunday’s North London derby at the Emirates Stadium, insisting his England teammate’s performances this season have gone “under the radar.”

In what has been an up-and-down campaign for the Gunners, Saka has been a shinning light, providing hope to Arsenal’s supporters that he can enjoy a long and successful career at the Emirates Stadium.

After showing flashes of his quality last season, both at left-back and on the left-wing, Saka has made the right-wing more of a natural home this season, regularly providing support to either Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette down the middle.

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In total, the England international, who will have aspirations of representing his country at this summer’s rearranged European Championships, has racked up 33 appearances for the Gunners this season, scoring six goals and claiming seven assists.

But whilst his performances and potential have raised eyebrows this season, Spurs man Dier, who will be hoping to help Jose Mourinho’s side record a first win at the Emirates Stadium since 2018 on Sunday, believes he has not earned the recognitions he warrants, insisting he has gone “under the radar” in comparison to other English players this season.

“I have spent a lot of time now with Bukayo in the international set-up,” Dier told Sky Sports. “I think he is a fantastic player.

“I think he has gone a bit under the radar, if anything, in terms of what he has done this season compared to other young, English players.

“He is a fantastic guy as well. I enjoy spending time with him when we are with England.

“But when we play, all of that is irrelevant – I just want to win.”

Dier is not the first person with Tottenham connections to have waxed lyrical about Saka this season.

Back in December, following the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat to Everton at Goodison Park, former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp heaped praise on Saka’s talents, insisting he had been their “shinning light” in what, at that stage, was turning out to be a disastrous season for Mikel Arteta’s side.

Redknapp said: “He’s been their shining light, but he’s 19-years of age. That’s putting so much pressure on a young man.

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“He plays with no fear, he makes things happen – in midweek when he makes the goal for [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. But you need the experienced players to help, that’s been the major problem for Arsenal.

“When you’re in a position like Arsenal are, the fans want to see the young players, the homegrown players, given an opportunity and Saka’s the one where you think something might happen when he gets the ball.

“It’s the others that have let him down.”

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