Steve Bruce heaped praise on Newcastle United defender Paul Dummett after his display against Bournemouth at the weekend and it was more than deserved.
The 28-year-old enforcer replaced Jamall Lascelles in the 20th minute of the 2-1 win over the Cherries, and with him on the pitch, the Magpies didn’t concede any more goals, so it was no surprise to hear Bruce highlight his performance.
“Dummy came on – and you can see his experience – and did very, very well,” said Bruce, as quoted by the Chronicle.
While Dummett was the man to replace Lascelles when he went down injured, he is not guaranteed to take the Magpies captain’s spot in the team in the club’s next clash with Aston Villa even if he is ruled out through injury.
The Chronicle reported that Florian Lejeune was eyeing a place in Bruce’s squad for the trip to Villa and stated that with Lascelles having a fresh knee problem to contend with, the Frenchman is back in contention.
Yet surely Dummett’s nose could end up being put out of joint if Lejeune instantly leapfrogs him in the pecking order and benefits from Lascelles’ potentially absence ahead of him.
The Wales international only played three minutes of the Magpies’ last four league games ahead of the win over Bournemouth after previously playing every minute of the club’s first seven league games of the season. (Source: Transfermarkt)
Dummett didn’t really warrant being dropped as he did impress in his outings with him averaging a very good 1.7 tackles per game as well as 1.3 interceptions per match (Source: WhoScored), and he himself seemed unclear why he had been axed as he said the manager dropped him for “whatever reason”. (Source: Chronicle)
Given that Bruce then praised him upon him replacing Lascelles, if the Magpies boss doesn’t turn to him, surely he’ll be aggrieved as he has done enough to warrant coming back into the first-team especially if a spot opens up.
While Dummett is no doubt aware of Lejuene’s talents, the Frenchman averaged an impressive 2.1 tackles per match and 1.8 interceptions per match across his 12 league outings last season, as per WhoScored, when you consider the centre-back is coming back from a serious injury, Bruce would be taking a risk to throw him back in.
The Chronicle even stated that ideally, Bruce would like to play Lejuene in a practice match or a game behind-closed-doors rather than turn to him straight away, so it would be a huge insult to Dummett’s talents if the Frenchman was utilised ahead of him in the coming weeks, particularly when it comes to the Villa game.
So with that in mind, the 28-year-old could end up having his nose put out of joint over where he ranks in the pecking order as it’s not like he isn’t seizing chances when they come his way.