The midfielder was involved in a heated fracas with a fan following his side’s FA Cup exit at the hands of Norwich
Tottenham favourites Les Ferdinand and Gary Mabbutt understand why Eric Dier jumped to his brother’s defence during a tense stand-off with supporters, although they called on the player to try and control his temper in future.
Dier hit the headlines during Spurs’ FA Cup fifth round defeat to Norwich City on Wednesday, which ended in the Canaries’ favour on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time.
The midfielder climbed over seats at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to confront supporters and had to be restrained by stewards.
It later emerged that Dier’s brother had been attempting to calm down a fan who had shouted abuse at the player and that Eric jumped into the stands when their argument became heated.
And former Spurs star Ferdinand believes Dier’s reaction to protect his brother was laudable, although the method he chose was not ideal.
“It was dangerous for himself and his family. But when you see your family getting abused or something going on, you can understand. Especially if it is the younger brother,” he told reporters at the London Football Awards.
“You can understand the frustrations, making sure he protects his younger brother. As a professional footballer it is not the done thing. We have not seen that on many occasions. Sometimes the red mist come up and all you think about is protecting that person in the stands.
“There were too many fans shouting in my time. I would probably have got beaten up if I had gone in there. Of course there are frustrations. You are meant to keep your cool. Try your best to keep your cool and sometimes now and then you see an incident like this.”
Ex-Tottenham captain Mabbutt echoed Ferdinand’s words and claims that if Dier had another chance he would conduct himself in a different manner.
“I was at the game last night. It was a disappointing result. Eric saw his brother in the crowd apparently. Something was going on. There was an altercation,” he said.
“You never normally react to things in the crowd but it is a bit difficult when you see your brother involved. It is human nature to go in and try and help out. Of course you cannot do that as professionals. I am sure with the benefit of hindsight he would have handled things differently. Players have to keep their cool at all times.
“Every single game you play, you get abused in one way or another. You have to accept that. It is part of the game. You know full well you cannot react. There was evident disappointment at the end of the game. Frustrations boiled over. A moment of madness maybe.
“If he had second thoughts he would have gone to the security guard, sorted out his brother and then gone to the dressing room. It should not have happened. Stadiums now can pinpoint every single person. They will be able to find out what went on. Most football fans I come across the country are fantastic people.”