Can Paul Dummett Be Newcastle's Latest Local Hero?
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As he connected sweetly with Yohan Cabaye’s floated free-kick against Liverpool this weekend, Paul Dummett’s dream came true.
A boyhood Newcastle United fan, the 22-year-old Dummett has had the same dream as every Geordie since he first laced up a pair of boots—to score for his side at St James’ Park in front of a packed crowd.
Dummett’s Magpies career has been similar to that of many youth players, going out on loan to build experience and confidence before coming back to push for a first-team place. St. Mirren was the club that gave Dummett that chance, and the youngster took it with both hands, becoming a regular in Danny Lennon’s side as the Buddies finished 11th in the Scottish Premier League.
Despite progressing through the Newcastle youth ranks at left-back, Dummett’s chance in the first team against Liverpool came in an unfamiliar central role alongside Mike Williamson. The pair had never previously played together in the Magpies’ first team, so instant chemistry was needed if the players were to keep Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge at bay.
It was testament to Dummett’s natural ability that he adapted so quickly to the new role, and after watching first-choice centre-back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa sent off earlier, he may be eyeing the position as a potential route into the first team.
Dominant in the air, brave in the tackle and perfectly comfortable on the ball, Dummett’s performance undoubtedly impressed Alan Pardew, who has been full of praise for his latest prodigy.
His two appearances this season came off the bench after a sending-off, and both posed him with significant threats. First, after Steven Taylor was sent off against Manchester City on the opening day of the Premier League season, Dummett had the task of marking City’s flying winger Jesus Navas. One of the most dangerous wingers in the league, Navas may have been relishing the chance to attack the debutant, but Dummett marshalled him well. Navas even struggled to trick his way past the Welshman.
With Yanga-Mbiwa now banned for three games and Fabricio Coloccini injured, Alan Pardew may choose to keep Dummett in the Newcastle side for its next game. Sunderland are the opposition, and the occasion usually suits a local hero.
Alan Shearer, Lee Clark and Shola Ameobi all became heroes for their actions against Newcastle’s bitter rivals, and Dummett — should he keep his place in the team — may get the chance to join the names he grew up watching.
The Magpies will be keen to avenge their 3-0 defeat at the hands of their foes, and it will have hurt no one more than someone like Dummett, who will have had the importance of local bragging rights drilled into his head from an early age. Going to school after a defeat to Sunderland when you bleed black and white is not easy, so Pardew may play on his young prospect’s emotions when he comes to naming his team in six days’ time.
Whether or not he starts the big game on Sunday, Dummett has certainly announced himself on the main stage at St James’ Park and has shown signs that he can become the latest local hero at Newcastle United.
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