I saw a fan on Twitter say that Paul Dummett’s return from injury had been a ‘blessing’ in recent weeks. He was shot down by so many NUFC fans, and that frustrated me given what a good job the left-back has done in the team over the past few weeks – and dare I say, the past few years.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s an area we’ve been limited in for years, but Paul Dummett is undoubtedly our best option at left-back and is a solid defender despite his clear attacking flaws.
Take Sunday at Crystal Palace for example. Andros Townsend barely got a sniff, being yet another winger to add to the list of players Paul Dummett has kept quiet.
He’s not spectacular and isn’t a player who’s ever going to stand out on Match of the Day or to your every day fan, but he is a reliable defender who does his job more often than not.
Can Paul Dummett get some credit? I'll be honest that over 2 years ago I thought he'd never make it as a player but he's persevered, improved and proven me wrong. Like it or not he's a solid pro and is far better than some charlatans we've had playing for us in our time #NUFC
— JB (@mirrordancer009) February 4, 2018
He doesn’t make mistakes, he stays switched on, he’s decent in the air, he’s strong in the tackle and alert to covering his centre-backs when we’re stretched in the middle (see his piece of covering when Benteke got through on goal last Sunday).
One thing I’d also say is his crossing isn’t as bad as some make out. Don’t get me wrong, he really struggles to run with the ball or provide an uncontainable threat down the flank (as Yedlin is capable of), but I’d like to bet that some of his whipped crossed end up being more than useful for Slimani over the coming weeks.
A final point is how his defensive reliability has helped Kenedy have a free role down the left, giving him the license to get forward and show what he can do without having to worry about protecting his full-back every other minute. The opposite can be said about Matt Ritchie and DeAndre Yedlin, with the former having spent a lot of time in his own half in recent weeks in a bid to help out the American who really lacks the defensive instincts that Dummett does possess.
In summary, I just feel Dummett still doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s no world beater and never will be, but he’s perhaps our most underrated player given how consistently he ‘does a job’ for the team. His improvement under Rafa Benitez must be recognised.
Let us know your thoughts folks – do you agree with me or do you have very different views on the NUFC left-back?