Newcastle United’s Paul Dummett impressed against Bournemouth before the international break and he’s performed with similar poise for Wales in a central role. But is he a threat to Rafa Benitez’s favoured back three?
Having primarily been a left-back in his career at Newcastle, Dummett’s move to a more central role this season has seen some solid performances.
However, Benitez has mainly used him as a substitute or cover since Florian Lejuene’s return to full fitness.
Dummett is now second fiddle to the favoured trio of Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles and Lejeune, but should he be starting more often?
Against Bournemouth, Dummett was easily one of Newcastle’s best performers.
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Lascelles’ absence saw him made captain for the game, where he led by example from defence.
To top of his performance, the Welshman also saved Newcastle from conceding a poor goal with a spectacular goal line clearance.
A terrible clearance from Ayoze Perez led to a looping header from Callum Wilson, but Dummett read the play spectacularly, bicycle kicking it away.
This performance alone was probably enough to convince Wales manager Ryan Giggs to play Dummett in a central role for The Dragons last week.
The defender made just his third start for Wales in a 1-0 friendly win over Trinidad and Tobago.
Although he probably hasn’t won over Benitez for a starting spot just yet, another opportunity to impress beckons.
Arsenal match could be big break for Dummett
Newcastle face Arsenal on the 1st April next week, in what promises to be an exciting Monday night affair.
Fabian Schar is still suspended in the Premier League due to his yellow card accumulations, leaving the door open for Dummett to make another impression.
Benitez is likely to start a similar back line to last time out, with Dummett playing on the left of a back three.
And if puts in yet another quality performance, Benitez will have a serious selection problem.
Schar is arguably Newcastle’s best defender, as they lose so often without him. Lascelles is Newcastle’s captain and leader, and to not play him is always a risk. And finally there is Lejeune, whose ball playing ability is crucial to Newcastle’s play.
But can Benitez ignore Dummett’s form?
There are negative sides to all three of the favoured centre-back’s games and they’re not undroppable.
After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Schar was a complete outcast in Benitez’s side.
For now Dummett remains one of the best defensive covers in the league and a bizarre impact substitute.
But that could all change come Monday.