John Beresford believes that Paul Dummett is currently the best defender in our squad.
Speaking to the Chronicle, the former left back gave the 26 year old high praise for his performances, and that he fully merited his new long term deal:
“It was great to see him get his new contract because he really deserved it for all his hard work. For me he is probably Newcastle`s best defender.”
I`m always a bit torn when it comes to our no.3. It`s great to see a local lad in the team, and he certainly warrants praise for his excellent defensive work but is he good enough if we want to compete in the top half of the Premier League?
Currently such a debate is irrelevant though. We don`t have the resources in place to really improve our squad, and the Welsh international is certainly among the best we have in defensive positions.
Just looking at our goals conceded in the league with/without our first choice left back, you begin to see his impact on the team. We concede 1.2 goals per game with him in the side and nearly 1.6 goals without him. 0.4 doesn`t seem like a big difference but in the Premier League, there are fine margins between losing and winning, and any improvement in our defence will have a positive effect.
Still, does that make him our “best defender” as Beresford says? I`m not so sure. I believe our captain does edge ahead of the full back in terms of both his defensive and leadership qualities.
You can be a great tackler, and have good positional awareness, but you also need to have organisation to be a good defender. While Dummett does indeed provide greater defensive solidity to the team, I would feel far less confident about our chances if Lascelles wasn`t marshalling things at the back.
With good planning, a manager such as Rafa can put all the elements in place to create a good solid base, but he needs players with the ability to carry out his orders on the pitch. Central to that are players like our no.6 who are able to implement the manager`s tactical plans.
The 24 year old was not in favour when the Spaniard first arrived at the club two years ago, but he quickly put his faith in the defender, and the player has certainly repaid him.
I do think both players have an incredibly important role to play in keeping us in the Premier League, and let`s hope that the pair maintain their fitness between now and the end of the season to give us the best chance of avoiding the drop.