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Dyer in trouble - again

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 March 2010

COULD this be one step too far for Kieron Dyer?

Instead of adding his undoubted skill to England's bid for World Cup glory next summer, will he instead be kicking his heels at home and thinking about what might have been?

If there is one player in the country not currently in Sven Goran Eriksson's squad who could be rated a near-certainty to force his way in for next year's Far East finals it is the Ipswich-born midfielder.

COULD this be one step too far for Kieron Dyer?

Instead of adding his undoubted skill to England's bid for World Cup glory next summer, will he instead be kicking his heels at home and thinking about what might have been?

If there is one player in the country not currently in Sven Goran Eriksson's squad who could be rated a near-certainty to force his way in for next year's Far East finals it is the Ipswich-born midfielder.

There is a gaping hole in the England side, on the left of midfield, and it was an open secret that Dyer was Eriksson's preferred choice to plug the gap.

The Swede was in regular contact with his long-term friend, Newcastle boss Bobby Robson, monitoring the player's progress as he fought his way back from serious injury.

Eriksson even turned up at the training ground and told Dyer he couldn't wait for the day when he could name him in his squad. He even went as far as to say the squad would not be complete without him.

A frustrated Dyer has not appeared for Newcastle since February this year, but he was expected to put his injury hell behind him in the next few weeks.

Not only would he return to boost the Geordie giants' bid to gatecrash the Champions League next term, he would also force his way into the England reckoning.

At least that's what everyone expected, but will Eriksson – a strict disciplinarian – be prepared to forgive and forget once he learns the full facts of Dyer's latest off-the-field misdemeanour?

His career has been dogged by problems, many of them self-inflicted, since he hit the big-time and moved from Ipswich in July, 1999, in a deal eventually valued at £6.5million.

A lot of money which, spent wisely, helped Town to regain Premiership status – but now only a fraction of his true worth in today's inflated transfer market.

Reports that Manchester United, Leeds United and several foreign clubs in Spain and Italy were all willing to pay £20 million for Dyer were spot-on.

But Robson knows a good player when he sees him and is in no hurry to trade in one of England's finest individual talents.

There may be a transfer scramble once Dyer has proved his fitness again, but Newcastle are big enough to stand firm and resist the temptation to cash in on their most valuable asset.

Robson's dilemma is whether the alleged offence that caused him to order Dyer and three team-mates to pack their bags is serious enough to lead to a parting of the ways.

Chances are, he will have imposed a club fine, delivered a stern lecture, told them to get out of town…and pray that a similar situation never arises again.

But this is not the first time Dyer has tested Robson's patience as the player's time on Tyneside has been littered with disciplinary problems.

I have known Dyer since he was 11 and I like him a lot. He was always destined for stardom, but he has not been able to take the transition in his stride.

He has a millionaire lifestyle, including a penchant for fast cars and designer clothing, and Page 3 girls have not been slow to latch on to him in their own clamour for column inches. But, so far, he has paid a high price for his celebrity status.

Dyer can go nowhere, and do nothing, without looking over his shoulder. The paparazzi are following his every move and the newshounds aren't far behind.

In the summer, he poured out his heart to me in one of his frankest-ever interviews, when it was clear that the price of fame was weighing heavily on his mind.

He dismissed some of the newspaper stories as rubbish and others as being grossly exaggerated, but Dyer also accepted he had to clean up his act.

There have been various kiss 'n' tell revelations plastered across the tabloids, but his image took a real battering with allegations of sordid sex romps in Cyprus with international colleagues Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard.

The trio were accused of video recording their sex romps, which have since been seen on the internet, and he said he intended to make back page, rather than front page, headlines in the future.

It hasn't worked out that way, however, and once again his reputation has suffered.

Dyer had often described Robson as a father figure and the ex-Ipswich and England boss will feel personal hurt at the player's latest chapter of disgrace.

Robson delivered a ticking-off to the player last year and has not lost patience with him.

Fatherhood does not appear to have done the trick with Dyer. His childhood sweetheart, Josie Jefferson, gave birth to the couple's first child, a son they called Kie, last summer.

When I saw him a few weeks ago in Newcastle, he said they were living with him in the city and he seemed happy with life.

But the whiff of scandal is back after he and his three disgraced colleagues – Craig Bellamy, Andy Griffin and Carl Cort – stepped off a flight from Malaga at tea-time last night.

Newcastle are doing their best to play down the problem, while also refusing to give specific details of the players' alleged offence.

But it is being suggested that all four ran into trouble for missing a tribute dinner to honour former chairman Sir John Hall.

The idea behind the trip was to recharge the players' batteries ahead of a demanding Premiership programme that resumes on Saturday week.

They were staying in the plush resort of La Quenta in San Pedro Alcantara, near the rich hotspot of Marbella.

The United party way based at the up-market West Inn complex and the team's friendly in Seville tomorrow night is expected to go ahead as planned.

Robson will be perplexed at another disciplinary problem within the ranks. Last week Griffin and French winger Laurent Robert were involved in a punch-up at the club's training ground.

Newcastle had hoped to stay at the famous La Manga resort, a favourite with British teams and the England squad, but were beaten to it by Blackburn Rovers.

Newcastle United have a chequered record with their trips away. Keith Gillespie ended up in hospital on a trip to Dublin in 1997 and in 1994 Barry Venison was stripped of the captaincy by Kevin Keegan.

That was after Venison, Steve Howey and future Ipswich player Alex Mathie went to a wine bar in Bournemouth instead of bonding with the rest of the United squad at a bowling alley.

And there is nothing new in footballers falling foul of the law on trips abroad, although Dyer is certainly one player who could do without this new problem.

His vows to toe the line have a hollow ring to them today…

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