Thursday 5 March 2020 22:19, UK
Tim Sherwood says he is surprised that "mild-mannered" Eric Dier stormed into the Tottenham stands to confront a supporter but refused to criticise him and instead called for a limit on fan criticism.
Spurs midfielder Dier could face action from the FA after becoming embroiled in a melee with fans as he tried to reach one in particular that it is claimed insulted his younger brother.
Ex-Tottenham player and manager Sherwood believes it must have been serious for Dier, who joined the club after Sherwood was sacked in 2014, to do what he did and fans should think twice before abusing players.
"It surprised me because he's a mild-mannered guy, Eric," Sherwood told Sky Sports News. "But something serious has gone on there. Something has triggered it - pushed the button. We've all got that button. Some are hotter than others.
"Unfortunately, if something is said out of turn, that you get upset with - and Jose said it himself; we need to be professional, bite our lip, not to go there - but sometimes it happens.
"I'm not going to sit here and criticise Eric Dier. Something serious has obviously gone on there for him to step into that crowd, walk up 10 chairs and confront the guy who he was very upset with.
"I bet the guy was sweating when he saw a 6ft 5in Eric Dier marching towards him. These boys are very strong and powerful. If it was on the street that guy wouldn't be criticising him would he?
"Just because he is on the football pitch, he's trying his best for the club, things aren't going well, frustrations boil over, you've just got to get on with it. Eric is upset as well at being knocked out of the FA Cup.
"The fans pay their money but it doesn't give them the right to say what they want and totally criticise the players. There is a limit. There is a line that needs to be drawn."
Sherwood was speaking as he was being indicted into the Blackburn Rovers Hall of Fame event, having captained the side to the Premier League title in 1995.
"It's a fantastic honour for me and my family," he said. "I can't believe it's been 25 years but it was a fantastic achievement for the club and for me personal. No one can take that medal away from us and I will cherish it for the rest of my life."
Ben Foster agrees with Sherwood that fans should not simply be able to "say whatever they want" at football matches, and the Watford man, who won London Goalkeeper of the Year on Thursday, told Sky Sports: "I feel for him [Dier].
"I think we live in a society where it is so strange. I guarantee there are people in that crowd that are decent 'nine-to-five' people; they go to work and then they come to the football on the Saturday and their inner demons come out and they can't help themselves. I think that is where we are at the minute.
"It's a shame because these are just normal people. It could be you, it could be me, it could be anybody. They are just decent, normal people but once they go to a football match it's like they can do and say whatever they want. You should not be able to do that.
"Whatever [Dier] is going through at the minute, I don't know. You don't know where he is [psychologically]. If it was me I know for a fact that I would have been able to [say to myself] 'I'm never going to see this person again and I'll ignore it'."