Paul Dummett has had his critics over the years. And many of them have been on social media. But something has changed. And Dummett has changed it.
Speaking last year after hearing his name chanted by Newcastle’s fans for the first time, Dummett said: “It was weird. Normally people shout ‘Dummett, you’re s***e’.”
The self-effacing defender was one of the first names on Rafael Benitez’s teamsheet. And, most likely, it’ll be the same under head coach Steve Bruce, Benitez’s successor at Newcastle United.
When fit, Dummett was in Benitez’s starting XI. And the 27-year-old could pass the 200-game career milestone this season.
The Newcastle-born player’s six-and-a-half year stint in the first team has flown by. Not bad for a player who was once told by Alan Pardew that he wasn’t good enough for the Premier League.
“It seems to have gone quickly looking back,” said the left-back. “Although 27 is still not old, you look back and think ‘where have the years gone?’. I’ve played a lot of games for Newcastle now, and, back then, when I made my debut, I didn’t think I’d be sitting here after more than 150 league games for Newcastle and still playing here.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work, dedication and determination. I kept on coming back from injuries, and with different managers, who have tried to buy players for my position.”
Dummett has had to work hard, over many years, to win over some fans. Asked about hearing his name chanted for the first time, Dummett said: “I think it was two years ago. Still now, any player in the Newcastle team will have people that don’t like them as a player or criticise them. It was never only just me.
“There was a lot of people that used to criticise me when I first broke into the team. You need to be a strong person for those kind of things.
“I always looked beyond that, and my thought was that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks as long as the manager’s happy with what you do on the pitch. He’s in charge.
“I don’t know what it was or what changed. One game, they started singing a song, and from that day, more people stick up for you online. You get more plaudits. I had a few good games and changed people’s minds.
“As soon as we sign a player, and we’ve had a player break through from the academy, they always want the new signing to play.
“I’ve had that a lot from being in the first team when we’ve signed players in my position. I always see they want this player to play to get me out of the team.
“Really, the player they’ve signed never did enough to get in the team or ends up leaving or not playing. It’s always been the same throughout my time in the first team.
“They always want something better, but for the past five years, that hasn’t seemed to happen.”
Making dreams come true
Other more talked-about players didn’t make it, and Dummett was the one who achieved his dream.
“From being a young boy supporting Newcastle, you always dream of playing for the first team,” said the Wales international.
“Everyone’s always out there saying that ‘it’ll not happen’ or ‘not many players make it’. For me, I always thought ‘I’ll be the one that will do it’, even though people were telling me I wouldn’t.”
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