DYER’S NOT READY FOR SWAN­SONG IN WALES

WIDEMAN NATHAN STILL HOP­ING TO ADD AN­OTHER CHAP­TER TO SWANSEA STINT

Metro (UK) - - MATCH ZONE - IN­TER­VIEW BY MATT TAYLOR

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.

PIC­TURE: REX

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

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