Dyer earmarked to succeed Shearer

A MATURING Kieron Dyer has been earmarked as Alan Shearer's successor as Newcastle United captain, writes Derek Davis.The England international will head the returning Ipswich contingent back to Portman Road tomorrow for Dale Roberts' testimonial and has been urged by Sir Bobby Robson to lift himself to a new level.

A MATURING Kieron Dyer has been earmarked as Alan Shearer's successor as Newcastle United captain, writes Derek Davis.

The England international will head the returning Ipswich contingent back to Portman Road tomorrow for Dale Roberts' testimonial and has been urged by Sir Bobby Robson to lift himself to a new level.

Dyer, now 25, has been made vice-captain to Shearer since the departure of Gary Speed to Bolton Wanderers, and is seen as the ideal leader of a new generation at St James' Park, when the striker packs in at the end of the season.

Robson said: "He needs to realise that he can be the leader of the younger players, and when Alan does go he can be captain of Newcastle United. It is up to him.


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"When Gary and Alan were out in the past, we've made Kieron captain and he has responded to that responsibility.

"He's in his mid-twenties now and he should be focused on what he is doing, both on and off the pitch. He needs to know what his ambition is and I feel this will be his best season for Newcastle."

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Dyer has been injury-hit since his £6million move from Ipswich and criticised in some quarters for his attitude. Although people close to him see him as a generous and responsible family man he has not always come across in a good light in documentaries and tabloid stories.

Robson added: "He is a phenomenal player, an outstanding talent and I believe he will prove himself to be just that this season.

"He needs to score more goals and should be getting into double figures every season. That lack of goals lets him down more than anything."

Dyer did not make the starting line-up of any England matches in Euro 2004 but Robson has no doubt that he can take the next step on the international stage.

"He is an England player, there is no doubt about that. But he is a squad player, not a team player, and that's the step up he needs to make.

"That step can be the hardest leap anyone has to make in their career, but he can make that leap, there is no question about that.

"He has worked on the uglier side of the game and he knows more about tackling and tracking back now, but he could sometimes make his passes a little quicker. He makes us tick."

Dyer may be vital to Newcastle but he has never forgotten his roots and returns home often to see his young son.

Dyer and Titus Bramble also dug deep last year when they contributed financially to ensure the Academy's side could take part in the Nike Youth Tournament at Sunderland.

He said: "I was born and bred in Ipswich and there will always be a special place in my heart for the club. I was born in 1978, the year they won the FA Cup and I still watch as many of there games as I can."

Newcastle hope to add to the signing of Patrick Kluivert by securing Nicky Butt after agreeing a fee with Manchester United for the England midfielder last night – a move that would benefit Dyer and winger Darren Ambrose, who along with Bramble is another who served Ipswich under Roberts.

Ambrose won a medal with the coach when Roberts led the Blues second string to the Premier Reserve League (South) in 2002, before he succumbed to cancer.

The former Town Academy player, who joined the Magpies last year in a £1.5m move said: "Dale took me into the reserves when we won the Premier Reserve League and he was a great bloke and terrific coach.

"He gave me some great advice on and off the pitch Dale always kept your feet on the ground and even now I remember things he said to me and act on it. Everything that came out of his mouth was positive and if you took notice you couldn't help but get better."

Tickets are on sale today and tomorrow at the Constantine Road office and cash turnstiles will be open before the match tomorrow.

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