Paul Dummett is finally getting some praise at Newcastle United – after four months out of the team.
The defender returned from a long-term hamstring injury late last month.
Dummett – who has long divided opinion on Tyneside – has quickly shored up the left side of the club’s defence.
The 26-year-old, preparing for tomorrow’s fourth-round FA Cup tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, suffered a hamstring injury on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, and left-back became a problem position in his absence.
“I never want to be injured for that length of time, but if you can get that extra bit of appreciation when you have been injured, then that’s great,” said Dummett.
“I’ve had that the last few games. The criticism will return if the performances don’t stay.
I got told I wasn’t good enough by Pardew, so I told him I had to prove him wrong. He knew then my attitude was right. I’d gone out on loan and kept going. He was the one who ultimately gave me the chance in the Premier League.Paul Dummett
“I have to keep playing well, and hopefully the praise keeps coming.”
Criticism is nothing new to Dummett, who was once told by Alan Pardew, his manager at the time, that he wasn’t good enough to play in the Premier League.
The Wales international – who made his debut in an FA Cup defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion five years ago – was never one of the most talked-about players in each age group at the club.
Dummett said: “I got told I wasn’t good enough by Pardew, so I told him I had to prove him wrong. He knew then my attitude was right. He was the one who ultimately gave me the chance in the Premier League.
“Going through the ages, once I got to 15 or 16, I thought I was going to be released.
“It’s the impression you get from coaches, but I was never one of the main players in the team. There was always players talked about more than me.
“I sat down with my family and my dad. He’d heard other players were going to get released, and I felt I maybe would too.
“I had to keep going, believing, and I went out on loan to St Mirren and even then I thought I’d get released after that.
“I thought I’d be playing football for someone else and not Newcastle. I got another one-year contract. I stayed and two games into the season against Liverpool, I found out I was getting another contract. That totally changed my life and my career.”
Dummett’s contemporaries at the club included James Tavernier, Brad Inman and Phil Airey.
“James Tavernier was one, who’s at Rangers now,” said Dummett. “Brad Inman was one. Phil Airey got a lot of headlines. I think he’s not playing anymore.
“In general, I don’t think they (the coaches) would ever say they’d look at me and say I was one who was going to play in the first team.”
Asked if there was added pressure on him as a Geordie, Dummett said: “Definitely, because the family are Newcastle fans and I’m surrounded by Newcastle fans wherever I go, because my friends are too.
“It’s different for me compared to some lads who are here, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“I guess it is harder for me, because I can never get away from the fact I’m from Newcastle and I play for the club. The pressure’s on me really.”
Is there any pressure on Newcastle at Stamford Bridge?
“We’ve had bad runs in the past, but it’s up to us to make sure we don’t have those bad runs now,” said Dummett. “No matter what competition, whether it’s the League Cup, FA Cup or league, we want to win.”