Newcastle have a defender in their ranks that is tough, dependable and knows how to put a tackle in. Boy, could we have done with one of those in our last two games?
A left-sided one, in fact. However, despite being billed as “the best defender” at the club by John Beresford in recent times, he has had to accept his role as a bit-part squad player of late.
I am, of course, talking about Paul Dummett.
With almost 200 appearances in black-and-white to his name, Dummett is a seasoned pro at our club having graduated from through the youth setup in 2013.
A usually sturdy backline has been incredibly leaky since the New Year, with it becoming clear that teams are starting to pinpoint our full-back areas as clear weaknesses to exploit.
While Emil Krafth is a discussion for another article, the form of Jamal Lewis since his £13m summer arrival has been abysmal. The former Norwich man has looked lightweight, fearful, and totally out of his depth at Premier League level.
His arrival was fixed as a long-term solution to our left back problems; one who could improve over time and hold down that role for the next decade. Our situation has changed drastically, however, and we need to start thinking of the here and now.
We are in a perilous position and can’t afford to be blooding in players who are devoid of all confidence while we sit just THREE points above the drop zone.
Criticising Lewis for his start to life on Tyneside has almost turned into a taboo. Well, let me tell you, it has quickly become a glaringly obvious elephant in the room that must be addressed ASAP.
I am not writing the Northern Ireland international off by any means. I am simply trying to say what I feel is best for the club right now. And that is giving him a spell on the sidelines by introducing Dummett back into the fold.
What he brings is an astute defensive game and somebody who is not afraid to get stuck in. He may not be the most technically gifted going forward, but by being more productive defensively, he would provide resilient cover for Allan Saint-Maximin on the left flank – exactly what we need when one of Neto and Traore will be be running at us down that side.
His substitute appearance against Southampton, where he was arguably our stand-out performer in the time he spent on the pitch, showed he is ready to go following a lengthy spell out due to injury.
Let’s make the change against Wolves and showcase some of the defensive steel we have become accustomed to in recent seasons.