Paul Dummett’s relationship with the Newcastle United fans is a strange and slightly strained one – and he seems to know that, too.
An interview with the Geordie left back was the cover feature in the latest issue of the club’s match day programme, United, and he referred to Alan Pardew’s doubts over his quality while the article pondered whether Magpies supporters are belatedly appreciating their longest-serving player.
As a hometown talent, Dummett was an instant favourite at St James’ Park until he failed to kick on and fans theorised that the Welsh international’s black and white blood was working unfairly in his favour.
But Dummett’s improvement in recent seasons has too often been ignored; he has rightly seen off Davide Santon, Massadio Haidara and Achraf Lazaar, having proven his quality in the last two years or more.
The 26-year-old has his limitations – particularly in attack – but he is a solid Premier League defender.
Much is made of Jamaal Lascelles’ astounding statistics, but Newcastle have conceded only three goals in 375 minutes with Dummett on the pitch in all competitions this season – his absence having been felt in the first half of the campaign.
And on Saturday, against Swansea City, Dummett was the star of a rather dismal show.
Although hardly faced with daunting opposition in Nathan Dyer, Mike van der Hoorn and Connor Roberts, the Magpies defender was strong at the back and showed that he has the talent to have an impact going forward as well.
Newcastle’s best moves in the first half came through Dummett and Christian Atsu on the left, with Swansea repeatedly struggling to track the pair.
One would hope Dummett could impress against the Swans – comfortably among the worst sides to visit Tyneside this season – but few expected him to have such an influence on the game.
No home player enjoyed more touches than Dummett and he used the ball well, too, creating an early chance for Dwight Gayle and then almost netting himself.
Having contributed two tackles, five clearances, two interceptions and a block at the other end, the former St Mirren loanee did not forget his defensive responsibilities either.
On a frustrating afternoon, Dummett was the standout. More of that, please, Paul…