He is nothing fancy. He won’t fly down the wing and register bags of goals and assists. He won’t grab the headlines. He will give you effort, commitment and a solid performance on a consistent basis. Paul Dummett is a player that will never let you down and will always give everything for the badge of Newcastle United.
Before going any further, I will openly admit I love Paul Dummett. Those people who follow me on Twitter will already be well aware of this. This article will be a very pro Paul Dummett piece, and hopefully explain why I think so highly of him.
Image credit Chronicle Live
Paul Dummett recently made his 200th appearance for Newcastle in our 1-0 win over Sheffield United. If you had told me 6 or 7 years ago that he would hit that milestone for the club, I don’t think I would have believed you, nor would most of the Newcastle fanbase. It has been a very up and down career for Dummett on Tyneside, which always seem to have been dictated by whichever manager was in charge at the time. Since making his Newcastle debut in 2013 after loan spells elsewhere, Dummett spent most of his early years at Newcastle as a bit part player, plugging gaps and covering injured absentees. Every time the summer came around in those early years, you were never quite sure if Dummett would be a Newcastle player at the start of the following season. It was no secret that Alan Pardew was never really a fan of Dummett and had actively tried to move him on a few times.
If I am being honest, during those early years, myself, like many other Newcastle fans wouldn’t have been sorry to see him go. At the time, we had Davide Santon at left back in a team that was very forward thinking and relied on a creative spark in the full back areas. However, that free flowing attacking side didn’t last long. A drop in form the following season, which then lead to an exodus of players, lead to Newcastle going back to the mediocre club we are all used to these days. This gave Dummett a route back into the side, and allowed him to push on at Newcastle.
Image credit Newcastle Toons
Going back to Davide Santon. I hear his name mentioned a lot by Newcastle supporters who do not rate Paul Dummett. They use Santon’s name like he was a world class left back who would walk into any team on the planet, when the reality is, he was just good going forward and exciting to watch. Santon’s attacking flair and ability to run at opposition full backs is what sticks in the memory of those who look back on his time at Newcastle fondly. Don’t get me wrong, he did very well here and played a big role in the season Pardew took us to 5th in the league. However, he most certainly had his flaws. For all of Santon’s attributes in the attacking third, he lacked a defensive know how. He was often left caught up the field and out of position, and was guilty of making quite a few errors, some more costly than others (THAT back pass against Benfica). Santon was a good left back for Newcastle and overall had a good spell here, but for a player in a defensive position, he could not defend.
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That brings us back round nicely to Paul Dummett. The left back who can defend. When Rafa Benitez was appointed as Newcastle manager in 2016, Dummett’s career at the club was revitalised. We are all well aware that Rafa has a more reserved approach on the pitch (as the media like to remind us) and likes to keep it tight and make his teams hard to beat. For all of Dummett’s limitations going forward, one thing that any sensible Newcastle fan can tell you, is that he can defend. Positionally and one on one, Dummett knows how to stifle attackers down his side, and will always give you a solid 7/10. He is the no nonsense full back you can rely on. Rafa saw this, and during his Newcatle reign, that left back spot was Dummett’s to lose. He was exceptional in Newcastle’s Championshiip winning campaign, and carried on his brilliant performances into the following Premier League season, helping Newcastle to a top half finish. Under Rafa Benitez, Paul Dummett was a part of a very solid defensive unit. During his two full Premier League campaigns in charge, only 6 teams conceded less goals over those two seasons, with Dummett’s performances down the left side at the heart of this.
Over the years, I think the opinion of Newcastle supporters have changed a lot, with the majority of fans seeing how reliable and important Paul Dummett is to the side. In the past, I think the opinion has always been that he is average at best, and if we really want to push on as a club, then we need to replace him. However, under Mike Ashley, Newcastle has never pushed on, and has never shown any desire too. Whilst the club is happy to simply survive under minimal investment, I would argue Paul Dummett is exactly the type of player Newcastle need. A local lad who is just happy to be representing his club, and in turn giving 100% week in week out and turning in consistent performances.
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Steve Bruce attempted to find a long-term solution at left back last summer by signing Jamal Lewis, a more forward thinking left back. However, with Lewis not settling in as well as we had hoped and Newcastle’s form taking a nosedive, Lewis found his way out of the team in favour of some of Newcastle’s more experienced players. Whilst Matt Ritchie filled in at left wing back, Dummett came into the side at centre half, and helped steer Newcastle to safety with some impressive performances and results.
Whether he is playing in the centre of defence or at left back, Paul Dummett is as reliable as they come. He has always, and will always do a job when he is in this Newcastle team, and through all the comings and goings over the years, he remains a main stay in the squad. Newcastle look much more solid when he is in the team, as was shown in the closing weeks of last season. He may not be pretty on the eye in terms of his abilities going forward, but Newcastle have not been easy on the eye for years. Newcastle are currently a team who rely on their hard working, no nonsense assets, and Paul Dummett certainly comes into that category. The club have tried to replace him or find a long-term solution at left back many times, but there is good a reason he always finds himself back in that position…
Paul Dummett is a reliable, consistent, hardworking player, which we should all be proud to have playing for Newcastle United. He’s absolutely class.