QPR midfielder Kieron Dyer returns from wilderness eager to justify Mark Hughes' faith
The turnover of players at Loftus Road has been so relentless over the last year it would be forgivable to forget some. It would certainly be possible to forget a man who had made only three appearances for Queen's Park Rangers in 13 months, none of them longer than 30 minutes.
But at White Hart Lane on Sunday, Kieron Dyer gave one long reminder of his presence and quality. He played 88 minutes, his longest top-flight appearance since November 2010, contributing energy and ability from right-back.
"I played 60 minutes in midweek and another 90 today so I'm getting the minutes under my belt," said a relieved Dyer afterwards. "I haven't missed a training session this season and been available for every game so things are going great for me. I haven't played regularly for the last four years so, hopefully, I'm still classed as a 28-year-old and not a 33-year-old."
Dyer's QPR career started with a bad injury after seven minutes of an opening day defeat to Bolton Wanderers in August last year. "At the start of last season it was just a freak injury when my studs got caught in the ground and my foot gave way. Since the new staff has come in, the manager and the medical team have been brilliant with me. And it was brilliant having Ale Faurlin [who ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament last season] in with me because we were in together all summer pushing each other through."
Mark Hughes has been very clear in his support for Dyer since his arrival at Loftus Road. "There was a change of manager and Mark Hughes pulled me straight away and said he wanted to give me another chance."
"He said: 'I want you to get fit and next season we're going to give you another chance because I've played against you in the past and I know what you can do.' That's how long I've been playing. His staff have been fantastic with me, they put me on a special training programme and I haven't missed a session and been fit for every game. It was a huge vote of confidence when they gave me a new contract."
Dyer came on after two minutes for Jose Bosingwa to play at full-back, the position where he made his thrilling England debut under Kevin Keegan against Luxembourg in 1999. "I started my career at Ipswich there and made my England debut at right-back," he said. "I haven't played there for a while. I was sitting down there enjoying a cup of tea and the next thing I know I'm getting thrown in at right-back against Gareth Bale, so that was a good test for my hamstrings."
His muscles held up, after intense but well-managed training. "It's all high-intensity," Dyer explained. "But I'm a high-intensity player during the match so if I'm coasting in training my muscles are like, 'What the hell's going on here?' So I have to train like I'm playing in a match. Sometimes when the lads are training for an hour and a half, I only train for an hour. There's a lot of sports science involved. We take saliva tests, pee tests, everything in the morning. If my saliva test is a bit high then they pull me out of training or modify it. They take a swab and they can tell if you're feeling stressed, if your body's not 100 per cent. That's the way the game is going. They're doing fantastically well for me and it seems to be working.
"Not once did I get down. I just thought that if I get another chance then I'm going to prove everyone wrong. I'm getting some minutes under my belt and if I stay on the pitch then I'm going to prove a few doubters wrong."
Expensive games: Dyer's recent record
Queen's Park Rangers
Kieron Dyer was on a reported £10,000 a week with an extra £20,000 per appearance last season after signing a one-year deal in May 2011. Thus, after getting injured in the first Premier League game of the season, he cost QPR around £77,000 a minute in total for his seven minutes of on-field action. In May, he signed a new contract, but on a pay-as-you-play deal.
Matches Mins Full 90
2012-13 2 107 0
2011-12 1 7 0
West Ham United
With a reported salary of £83,000 per week, plus image rights, during his four injury-blighted seasons at Upton Park, it is estimated Dyer cost the Hammers around £450,000 per match. He was released by the club at the end of the 2010-11 season.
Matches Mins Full 90
2010-11 11 610 1
2009-10 10 364 0
2008-09 7 198 0
2007-08 2 180 2
*Premier League matches only
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