How Paul Dummett went from an outcast to one of Newcastle’s key players
When Paul Dummett was told by Alan Pardew that he 'wasn't good enough' for the Premier League back in 2012, this would've been hard to take in. The reaction from the Newcastle born defender wasn't to turn to his agent to discuss handing in a transfer request and wait for offers from other clubs to arrive. Dummett took it upon himself to prove to his coach and to himself that he is good enough to play for Newcastle and to play football at the highest level.
The start of his journey took him down the path of going out on loan, swapping NE1 for NE10 to play for Gateshead FC where he played 10 matches and kept 6 clean sheets assuming his Left-back position, solid performances earned him Gateshead's April's player of the month award. After coming off the back of an impactful loan spell with Gateshead, the optimism of returning to the first team was in the mind. However, with three options at Left-back cover at Pardew's disposal meant Dummett had to continue on his path to the first team and joined Scottish Premiership club St Mirren F.C for the 12/13 season. The Welshman's determination shone through and he solidified his place in the team making 32 appearances in all competitions and helping the club win their first Cup since 1987.
Returning from the successful loan spell with St Mirren F.C with silverware to show for, Newcastle offered Dummett a 1-year contract with the promise of first-team football in the Premier League. This is the turning point for Dummett and you can now imagine his thought process when reading on his contract that he will be given Premier League football after 2 loan spells away, his hard work is paying off.
The 13/14 season arrived, Dummett was instructed by Alan Pardew to play in the Left-back position in a back 4 that featured Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor and Daryl Janmaat. Throughout the campaign Paul Dummett would share the Left-back position with Davide Santon therefore the end count for appearances was 18 across all competitions but struggled in his first season in the Premier League, despite being the first choice for Newcastle many fans did not see much that they liked about him and grew sceptical of the clubs decision to keep him at the club. But, there were some campaign highlights such as scoring an ET winner against Crystal Palace in the League cup and keeping a clean sheet against Manchester City in the league.
Things were on the up regardless of the fans feelings towards Dummett, he had achieved a full campaign of Premier League football with the first team. As new managers came and gone he continued to be Newcastle's first choice Left-back with a duty to provide cover for centre-back. He made some memorable moments for himself and the club scoring the equaliser in a dramatic 3-3 against Manchester United 15/16.
Statistically Paul Dummett knew he wasn't the best going forward but with no other cover in that position because of hierarchy arrogance, nothing else could be done to address this lack of creativity on the Left, Registering 0 assists, Dummett mostly stood out in his defending statistics, which Rafa Benitez and his coaching staff spotted and would then embark on a project to progressively mould Paul Dummett into a centre half.
13/14 = 81%
14/15 = 84%
15/16 = 80%
16/17 = 73%
17/18 = 71%
18/19 = 65%
19/20 = 88%
Rafa knew Dummett is mature and a one-club man, to make a player of this circumstance feel wanted and confident has been key in the way Newcastle have stuck together and for Dummett's development that has transferred to results on to the pitch. The idea of transforming Dummett into a centre-half in a three man defence is the best decision that has been made for his career and as a Geordie who is clearly living his dream and stays very humble about it is a pleasure to watch.
Rafa on Paul Dummett after the 3-2 comeback against Everton.
“I said the other day that he’s someone that you can trust. He can give you always a seven, sometimes and eight, sometimes a six, but always he is around there. It’s difficult for him to give you a 10, but it’s difficult for him to give you a one.
Dummett is very self-aware and it's his self-confidence is what makes him a key figure; tactically and in the dressing room. What he brings to the team does not always get noticed by the fans, he is not one of the star players but he always does the dirty work and his versatility to provide cover on the left-hand side, allows the wing back to push forward with more freedom. A solid tackler and a strong, imposing figure in Newcastle's defence, he is the Geordie that is living the dream of playing in the Premier League for his boyhood club week in and week out. His place may come under scrutiny when Florian Lejeune returns but Dummett has overcome many obstacles and will give Lejeune much to work for.