DYER’S NOT READY FOR SWANSONG IN WALES
WIDEMAN NATHAN STILL HOPING TO ADD ANOTHER CHAPTER TO SWANSEA STINT
CHAMPIONSHIP SWANSEA V LEEDS SUNDAY, 1.30PM
FEW players manage a decade at a club, but Nathan Dyer has never wanted to Swan off after switching to Wales in 2009. And now he hopes to fire Swansea back into the Premier League as Steve Cooper’s side mount a play-off push.
The bantamweight 32-year-old winger started at Southampton with family hero Cyrille Regis as a mentor. And he bitterly felt the loss when the West Brom legend died in 2018.
He says: ‘Cyrille was like my second dad. He was always there for me, come rain or shine. He told me there would always be ups and downs but consistency is the key to what you do.
‘You have some players who are unbelievable or very bad. I had to develop that consistency to play the games that I did, so I would average a seven.’
Dyer joined Roberto Martinez’s freeflowing Swansea in 2009 and has now played for an incredible 14 different bosses. ‘As hard as it is to have a new manager basically every season it is good to get different knowledge,’ he says. ‘To me the standout was Brendan Rodgers, obviously we got promoted to the Premier League with him.
‘Brendan was always instilling in us a streak of arrogance – not to hide, but take responsibility.
‘He gave you that feeling you were world class, top of the pile.’
The Wiltshire-born wideman never expected to stay so long in south Wales but found the club to be the perfect fit. Dyer won the League Cup in 2013 – scoring twice and taking man-of-thematch honours in the 5-0 rout of Bradford in the final and he helped the Swans to their record Premier League finish of eighth in 2015.
‘But that promotion season can never be beaten, the way we played in the play-offs and final,’ insists Dyer. Swansea beat Reading 4-2 to reach the top flight in 2011.
‘I had butterflies in my stomach and felt sick before the Wembley game as there was so much riding on it but we got to the promised land in style. For a small club so far out of the way it was amazing. We put Swansea on the map. I enjoyed the way we were playing – we were called “Swansealona”.’
Despite his loyal service there was one season where Dyer’s face did not fit at the Liberty stadium – under former teammate Garry Monk. It is clear that rejection stung.
He recalls: ‘It was unfortunate as I had played with him for about seven years.
For some reason he didn’t think I was fit to play in his team. It didn’t make sense. To be told you are not even going to be in the squad was hard to take.’
So instead, Dyer went on loan to Leicester – and became part of the squad that pulled off the most unexpected Premier League title win ever. ‘That season was mental. It was great to be a part of. First and foremost we enjoyed playing – every game and training session,’ he says. And with Riyad Mahrez, N’Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy emerging as outstanding players something beyond survival looked possible. ‘Around
February we had a meeting and said we can win the title, we took it a little bit more seriously and went for it.’ But he missed out on Vardy’s famous party as Chelsea’s win handed Leicester the title. ‘My wife was giving birth to my second child so I was in the hospital.’
Dyer has found himself not playing so much this season as Swans boss Cooper has recruited from among his England 2017 Under-17 World Cup winners. But he still hopes to stay with the Welsh club when his contract is up.
Swansea are one point off the playoffs and host high-flying Leeds on Sunday. And after winning at Elland Road, Dyer insists the Welsh side will not be daunted. ‘Yes, they are a massive threat but it comes down to self belief – puffing your chest out and knowing you are as good as they are,’ he adds. Brendan Rodgers would be proud.
2005YEAR DYER’S SOUTHAMPTON WERE RUNNERS-UP IN THE FA YOUTH CUP. A SQUAD INCLUDING GARETH BALE, THEO WALCOTT AND ADAM LALLANA LOST TO IPSWICH IN THE FINAL 12PREMIER LEAGUE APPEARANCES DYER MADE IN LEICESTER’S TITLE-WINNING CAMPAIGN IN 2015-16 Dyer in action for Swansea and (left) lifting the Premier League trophy with Leicester