Paul Dummett says that it has been very hard watching the games from the sidelines.
His season lasted only five minutes before being helped from the field with what proved to be a very nasty hamstring injury.
That opening day of the season felt like one where the Gods were against Newcastle United, as Florian Lejeune was then also forced off on half an hour after a shocking Harry Kane ‘tackle’, no red card to soften the blow either.
Not satisfied with losing half the first choice defence inside 30 minutes, just after the break captain for the day Jonjo Shelvey petulantly stood on Dele Alli’s fingers and did get a red card – what looked to be heading for a morale boosting goalless draw, ended up instead with a two goal defeat and three players to be missing for X weeks.
Whilst Newcastle have struggled for goals up front, more Newcastle fans have come around week to week to the opinion that Mitrovic is maybe a better player than they thought he was.
Paul Dummett believes that maybe supporters are also thinking a little bit more of him in his absence, saying ‘I think sometimes when you’re not playing, sometimes they think ‘yeah, we do need that player.’
Chancel Mbemba, Jesus Gamez and Javier Manquillo have all started games at left-back in his absence – none of them left footers, meaning they usually have to come inside and play the ball.
Gamez got only one start at Swansea where Newcastle won and he did OK, whilst supporters seemed to believe Mbemba was doing a decent job only to be then totally sidelined from the squad, with seemingly other issues leading to Rafa making that move.
Bottom line is that nothing has really changed. Manquillo has done his best but Paul Dummett is still probably the best left-back at the club – though for most fans they still hanker for a new first choice one with more mobility who can get up and down the pitch, adding something to the attack as Yedlin does on the other side.
What you definitely get with Paul Dummett is somebody who has a lot of character and who, as a Newcastle fan all his life, 100% cares.
Newcastle face a tough upcoming schedule and Dummett is a player who doesn’t hide, so will be be a welcome addition back into the squad in the coming weeks.
Rafa will need as many options as possible with now 11 Premier League matches coming up with only 44 days between Man Utd on Saturday and Stoke City away on New Year’s Day.
Paul Dummett speaking to NUFC TV:
“I knew it (Injury on opening day of season v Spurs) was bad as soon as I did it…it was just a sharp pain.
“I have had hamstring injuries before but I’ve never felt anything the way I did in that game.
“The physio came on and I just said to him ‘I need to come off’ because I knew it was so bad. Even when I was back in the changing room at half time, they couldn’t really assess me because they couldn’t put my leg in the right position because I was in that much pain.
“You’ve worked so hard last season, and all pre-season, to make sure you’re fit and ready for the first game of the season – a massive game against one of the best teams in the league. You never want to get any sort of injury but when you get one that’s going to keep you out for a long time, it’s always worse.
“Initially when I got injured, I got the scan and stuff and I thought it might be a bit quicker, but I think I’m still ahead of schedule. I got told it would be 16 weeks and it’ll be 13 weeks this weekend, so by the time I’m back playing I should be on schedule or maybe ahead of it.
“At the time, there was only me and Sadio (Haïdara) injured, and Sadio started to train eventually so there was only me injured. You’re in the physio room by yourself, just watching; then it comes to a game on the weekend and you’re sitting watching from the stand. It is hard to watch because you want to be out there, trying to help the team and do anything you can. That’s the worst part.
“For the first four weeks, I was on crutches, in a brace, so I couldn’t do anything really. I was getting a bit of treatment, then once you come out of the brace, you start to walk freely and it’s a matter of building up with jogging, then in the gym doing strength work.
“The physio (Sean Beech) told me to do it in stages; you do your first four weeks in your crutches and brace, then you aim for the next point. Once you’re jogging, you do your real rehab and then you aim to get fully training and playing a game.
“It’s hard work – you probably work even harder when you’re injured, trying to get fit, because the physio’s trying to put you through a lot of intense work to make sure you can cope with full training.
“Especially with a hamstring injury, it’s all about sprinting so I think it’s a bit of a confidence thing – knowing you can sprint and it’s not going to happen again.
“One of the biggest things is the mental side of knowing you can actually sprint. In the Premier League, that’s obviously what you’re going to have to do, especially with how quick it is when the ball goes over your head. You’ve got to be able to do that and I need to make sure that when the time comes, when I’m playing a game, I can do that.
“I can see light at the end of the tunnel so now I’m fully focused on getting back to play a game. I don’t know how long that’ll be, but I’m hoping to get a reserve game in and then try to get back into the team.
“It’s tough because you’re paid to play football and you’re not doing that.
“Sometimes when you’re playing, any player gets mixed reviews. Every player gets criticised, every player gets praised and I think sometimes… I hate being injured, but sometimes when you’re injured people start to appreciate a bit more of what you’re capable of doing.
“I think that happens, not only with me, but with other players. I think sometimes when you’re not playing, sometimes they think ‘yeah, we do need that player.’
“I just do my job as well as I can on what the manager asks and what the team wants. I think playing regular football week in, week out without any injuries last season, getting older and more experienced, and learning different things under the manager has definitely helped me grow as a player.
“Getting injured in the first game was a massive blow because you want to show everyone how much you’ve improved, and to play against some of the best players in the world in the Premier League.
“I haven’t been able to do that yet this season, and I need to try to stay fit now and show that I’m good enough to play in this team and help the team survive.
“We’ve gained quite a lot of points that people probably didn’t expect us to get but there’s still a long way to go and a lot of points to play for, so hopefully I can get back in the team and help the team stay in the Premier League and climb the table.”