Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Why McClaren's Keeping a Spot Warm for Dyer; Steve McClaren Popped into the Newcastle Training Ground to Check on United's Two England Players. Luke Edwards Looks at Why a Fit Kieron Dyer Will Make It a Trio

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Why McClaren's Keeping a Spot Warm for Dyer; Steve McClaren Popped into the Newcastle Training Ground to Check on United's Two England Players. Luke Edwards Looks at Why a Fit Kieron Dyer Will Make It a Trio

Article excerpt

Byline: Luke Edwards

WHEN Kieron Dyer spoke to Steve McClaren yesterday the thrill of what he heard from the England manager will have been immediately tempered by the frustration of yet another injury lay-off.

If you mention the name Dyer and England to most football fans in the North-East you will probably get a raised eyebrow and an answer with the words 'injury-prone' and 'waste of talent' somewhere within it.

Scepticism about Dyer's international credentials is understandable when you consider the Newcastle midfielder has only played 21 games for the Magpies in the last 18 months and has not been involved with an England squad since March 2005.

Yet his name continues to be mentioned frequently in international circles, just as often by McClaren as it was by his predecessor Sven-GUran Eriksson. As fanciful as some would have you believe, if Dyer's frail frame had not broken down again in April after last season's derby win over Sunderland, the former Ipswich prospect would have gone to the World Cup in Germany.

Whether he would have played, given Eriksson's propensity for picking players and not using them at major tournaments, is another matter, but after only a handful of appearances in a black-and-white shirt this season, his successor is already suggesting that Dyer - fitness permitting - will be in England's next squad for the friendly against Spain in February.

"I have been a fan of Kieron's from the days when I was coach at Manchester United and I am still a fan," said McClaren on his visit to Tyneside yesterday where he also spoke to Michael Owen and Scott Parker as they recover from knee and stomach injuries.

"I cannot praise him enough for the way he has fought back from all his problems and for the professionalism and strength of character he has shown.

"Kieron does not need to impress me, but I know what he wants most - and that is to be playing regularly again for Newcastle United."

United fans will also be far more concerned about seeing Dyer back don their club's colours than they are with him earning an international recall.

Nevertheless, in a side which is a pale shadow of the one built by Sir Bobby Robson when Dyer was just one of a number of exciting young players, the 27-year-old is now vital to United's fortunes. …

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