'Something different' - Benitez heaps praise on injured Newcastle star
By Guy Giles
Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez has praised left-back Paul Dummett as the player nears his return from a long-term absence with a hamstring injury.
Wales international Dummett sustained the injury early on in Newcastle’s opening day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, and returned to full training last week as he stepped up his recovery.
Dummett’s absence has caused problems for Benitez at left-back, and the Spaniard is insistent that fans do not realise his importance for the team.
As quoted by the Chronicle, Benitez said: “I was talking with my staff about him. People don’t realise how important as a player he is until you lose the player.
“He is someone who knows his job. He is not bad in the air, he is not bad with his left foot. People say: ‘He needs to go to the byline and make crosses’. It doesn’t matter: he can make passes, he can defend, he can help at set pieces.
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“He is a player who will give you something different. Something we don’t have already.”
Dummett made 45 appearances for the Magpies as they won the Championship title last season, and has turned into a key figure for Benitez during his tenure as manager.
The academy graduate has made 122 appearances in total for his hometown club, also making his international debut with Wales.
His absence this season has seen Benitez use Jesus Gamez, Javier Manquillo and centre-back Chancel Mbemba at left-back, with Manquillo now the settled choice ahead of Dummett’s return.
In other Newcastle United news, the club have held talks over this goal machine as Benitez eyes two strikers in January.