Eric Dier hoping for another Southgate-inspired sing-along after Croatia clash
Dier wants to hear more ‘old school ’80s and ’90s’ tracks on the bus back to the team hotel after the semi-final.
Eric Dier is hoping for another blast of Gareth Southgate’s “karaoke tunes” after England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia.
While Love Island and Fortnite continue to dominate down-time in the team hotel in Repino, Southgate and his backroom team are in charge of the playlist when the team bus returns victorious from the airport.
Southgate could not recall the selection he and his coaching staff put together for the team after Saturday’s quarter-final win over Sweden, but Dier had his own take.
While he was unable to identify specific tracks – blaming a combination of low decibels and generational divide – the experience clearly left an impression.
“I don’t know if they’re embarrassed about their music or the speakers are bad… it’s quite hard to hear at the back of the bus,” he said.
“They don’t put the volume up very loud – they try to keep the volume enough so that only they can hear it. But they like a lot of their… I call them karaoke tunes. Ones you can sing along to, old school ’80s and ’90s.
“There are some good ones in there, the players enjoy listening to them too, they’ve had a few sing-alongs on the way back from games and hopefully that will continue on Wednesday.”
There is, of course, more to England’s unlikely success in Russia than a judicious selection of songs and a few hard yards on the training pitch.
One of the extra measures brought in by Southgate was the appointment of Dr Pippa Grange, owner of a doctorate in applied psychology and the Football Association’s head of team and people development since November.
Grange has been part of the FA’s travelling backroom team, on hand to help the country’s best technical players with the mental side of the game.
Dier was composed enough to slot home the winning penalty against Colombia in the last 16 and praised Grange’s work to date.
“I think a lot of the work that we’ve done with her has been prior to the tournament starting, the last six or seven months,” he said.
“Lots of the groundwork was done then. She’s helped us in the same way throughout the whole tournament, it’s never changed depending on how far we’ve come or depending on the magnitude of the games.”
“Everything we’ve done, not just with Pippa but in general, just making sure we’ve just had consistency throughout… I’m sure that’s really helped everyone and helped keep a really good environment within the camp.”
Want to say a special thank you to the whole country for the support we've received so far, it's means to much to me and the whole team! 🦁🏴 pic.twitter.com/YNPy64RpI0— Dele (@dele_official) July 8, 2018
Dier’s Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli is also appreciative of her efforts.
“She’s done a lot of work with us, more so leading into the World Cup before we got out here. She’s an amazing person,” he said.
“You can see how hard she works and she really knows what she’s talking about. She’s helped us a lot. She’s done a lot of stuff with us, takes a lot of meetings. Everyone listens to her when she talks.”
Alli did not say whether Grange had cast her psychologist’s eye over his lengthy list of pre-match rituals.
“I have a lot of superstitions. There are so many,” he admitted.
“I do all my right leg first, then all my left leg. I have an eight-minute ice-bath the night before. I don’t know why – it’s just a superstition.
“I always say a prayer, the same prayer, before. You might’ve noticed there’s tape on my knee now. That’s a superstition as well – I don’t like taking it off.
“I took it off for the first game (against Tunisia) – this is a bit of a silly superstition – but the first game here was the first game in ages I haven’t had it on, and I got injured, so I’m going to be keeping it on again.”