Dyer got a little help from his friends

CHAMPIONS: Kieron Dyer has gone from parks football in Ipswich to the very top of his profession.The former St Matthew's Primary pupil is an established member of the England squad and has looked at home in the surroundings of the elite Champions League this season.

KIERON Dyer has gone from parks football in Ipswich to the very top of his profession.

The former St Matthew's Primary pupil is an established member of the England squad and has looked at home in the surroundings of the elite Champions League this season.

He has all the trappings of success following his £6.5 million move from Ipswich to Newcastle, including a Ferrari and a penthouse apartment in Tyneside's trendiest area.

But 23-year-old Kieron insists his superstar status would never have been possible without the help and influence of his friends.


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I asked him how he felt he could inspire the many thousands of young athletes who want to

emulate his feat and reach the top of the sporting world.

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Through my own work with athletes, who are up and coming through the ranks, I can totally relate to his comments.

Part of the development of any athlete, irrespective of their chosen sport, concerns the friendships that develop with people they meet during training and competition.

Without really realising it, these people create the healthy competition that is part of the driving force to become a champion.

Kieron, who recovered from injury just in time to be involved in the World Cup finals earlier this year, told me: "I feel very fortunate to have grown up with so many talented friends."

I am sure the people to whom he refers played a valuable part in Kieron's spectacular rise to the top and he admitted: "I feel that having my friends around me has contributed to my success on the pitch."

As many athletes will readily testify the pressures of sport can be massive, even if their sport is not as high profile as football.

Many athletes will rely on their friends to support them through some of the stressful periods of training and competition.

The sports personalities we watch on television are regarded as superstars, but at the end of the day they are only human like you and me.

Kieron goes along with that and added: "Fans see me as a superstar footballer but to my friends I'm just the same old Kieron Dyer they used to run rings around – and they still remind me of that to this day."

Friends, and in particular the relationship and support they offer, play a big part in the performances we watch.

And that is the case whether it is an amateur athlete on a local running track, or a superstar on the telly in the Champions League.

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