Dyer tells of 'nightmare' quest to recover fitness

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The Independent Football

The Newcastle midfielder Kieron Dyer has spoken about the injury problems that led to speculation that his lifestyle could be ruining his career.

The 27-year-old midfielder burst made an immediate impact on his return to the team against Southampton in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday, his first start since 28 August, after a combination of hamstring and health problems.

Rumours abounded on Tyneside that his supposed playboy lifestyle had contributed to his problems, but he denies this. "I've been terribly depressed and close to tears many times," he said. "It's been hell but I've always clung to the belief that I'll play regularly again.

"To suffer with an illness that affects my hamstrings and general fitness has been a nightmare, which is why all the emotion came tumbling out of me when I scored on Saturday.

"I've travelled all over the place, seeking the answer. I know about the rumours and they are ridiculous but what can I do about it? The club issued a statement and I have to abide by that - but it's nothing I could have avoided.

"My private life should be respected and, remember, it's my career that's suffering. The trouble has been that the medication I was taking for my illness adversely affected me physically. It slowed down my recovery from any hamstring injury, which for an athlete is killing."

Dyer travelled extensively looking for a solution, and eventually found it at the Olympic Medical Institute in Harrow, where a change of medication and a programme of exercises to strengthen muscles that were causing strains to his thigh and hamstring were recommended.