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Dummett keen to progress under Rafa

Written by Tom Easterby

Paul Dummett says he’s looking forward to continuing his progress under manager Rafa Benítez after penning a new long-term contract with Newcastle United.

The 26-year-old has committed his future to the club, signing a deal that could run to the summer of 2022.

Boyhood Magpies supporter Dummett, a near ever-present in last season’s Championship title-winning season, has impressed since returning from injury at Christmas.

And he told NUFC TV that Benítez’s presence played a part in his decision to put pen to paper – something the local lad had been keen to do.

“It is an easy decision. I’m a fan anyway, so it’s something I wanted to do anyway,” said Dummett. “But with a manager like Rafa in charge here, who wants to keep you at the club to try and progress, it wasn’t a hard decision. It was an ongoing progress, it took a while to happen, but I’m happy it’s all sorted and I can now concentrate on playing football.

“After most games, at half time and full time, he’s always got advice for most players. Goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, strikers – he’s always trying to give advice and try to help. I’ve been in the office many times with different clips, showing me different things with different players. Hopefully I’ve learned from the things he’s told me and progressed as a player.”

The full back added: “It’s a boyhood club for me and I’ve been a supporter for many years before. To be staying at the club for even longer is really important for me. I’ve wanted to stay here, the manager’s wanted to keep me and the club have wanted to keep me so I’m really pleased to have signed a new contract and hopefully there’s many more years to come.”

In December, Dummett returned from a hamstring injury which had sidelined him since the opening day of the campaign.

But since his return to action, he has proven his value to the Newcastle cause with a string of fine displays, and Dummett said he felt ready for this year’s test in the top flight.

“I played a lot of games last season in a tough league, and playing in a different environment against different players helps you improve. Coming up to the Premier League again, I think I was more prepared after having experienced it a few years ago, playing quite a lot of games already in the Premier League before that,” he said.

“Getting injured in the first game of the season was a massive blow, but I worked so hard with the physios to get back fit and made sure that, when I was ready to play, I was in the best condition possible to go and play and try and help the team. Fortunately I’ve stayed fit since the injury, and it’s up to me now to keep on playing well and stay in the team.”

It’s been quite a journey for Dummett, who is the club’s longest-serving player having risen through the academy before making his United bow over five years ago.

“There have been a lot of people who’ve helped me throughout my career, from being eight years old in the academy to playing in the first team now with Rafa,” said the defender, who has now made well over a century of appearances for the Magpies. “There have been many managers, many coaches, and going on loan with the different managers there. Everyone along the way has had a helping hand to get where I am today.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, dedication and sacrifice to get here as well. I’m proud of what I’ve done, and I just need to stay fit, carry on playing and make sure we get results on the pitch.”

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