Dier dreams of Man United move

Sporting Lisbon’s 16-year-old centre-back Eric Dier has admitted that he dreams of one day playing for Manchester United.

Dier, a tall central defender who has risen through the ranks at Sporting, signed professional terms with the Portuguese club last year.

And while the name and current club may mislead, Dier is that rarest of commodities in the modern game – a young English player starting his career abroad.

Dier moved to Portugal eight years ago when his family relocated to allow his mother to take up a job working during the 2004 European Championships.

The young starlet was spotted by the Portuguese giant’s scouts and signed to the youth academy at the Estadio Jose Arvalade, where he has performed at under-15, under-17 and under-19 level.

Sporting fended off interest from a number of top European clubs before securing Dier on a professional contract, but the youngster admits that, having supported the Red Devils as a boy, they are the team for him.

"If the offer came today, I wouldn't say I'd take it because I'm not sure it's the right time," Dier told BBC Sport.

"But if I cemented a place in Sporting's first team and felt I was ready, then it would be very hard to turn down."

Dier comes from a sporting family. His grandfather Ted Croker and uncle Peter playing for Charlton Athletic while his father was a professional tennis player.

And while authorities in Portugal are already throwing courting glances Dier’s way with a view to making him a Portuguese citizen, the defensive prodigy affirmed that playing for England is a dream of his.

"For sure. I think it is the dream of any kid to play for England and play for your country."

Nevertheless, Dier also spoke about how much he enjoys life in Portugal, stating:

"I love the training, the Portuguese people, the Portuguese culture. Everything about this place I like.

"I've never seen the need to move from Sporting to anywhere in England or any other country because Sporting has a great history of bringing players up to play in the first team and go on to play in great clubs in Europe.

"People tell me about players who have gone to places like Arsenal and Chelsea and had to come back looking for clubs because they've got nowhere to play."

By Jonathan Fadugba