Dyer thanks Blues for their support

KIERON Dyer wins his 29th England cap tonight against Spain at Old Trafford, after a two-year injury hell.And last night the former Ipswich schoolboy, who admitted to feeling 'suicidal at times' while out of the game, paid tribute to his home-town club at Portman Road for the help he received from them in his return to fitness.

By Mike Bacon

KIERON Dyer wins his 29th England cap tonight against Spain at Old Trafford, after a two-year injury hell.

And last night the former Ipswich schoolboy, who admitted to feeling 'suicidal at times' while out of the game, paid tribute to his home-town club at Portman Road for the help he received from them in his return to fitness.

Speaking yesterday, Dyer, 28, last played for England against Azerbaijan at St James Park, Newcastle, in March 2005.

He had years earlier burst onto the scene in extraordinary fashion during a 6-0 demolition of Luxembourg in September 1999.

But since then injuries have restricted the hugely-talented midfielder, who left Ipswich for Newcastle in a still record transfer fee for the Blues of £6m, to just 27 caps in eight years.

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“Yes, I think it is right to say it has been a long road back,” Dyer said from Manchester United's Carrington training ground yesterday.

“I'm glad to be in the team, but I don't want to just be in for the odd occasion, I want to give the manager (Steve McClaren), a selection poser.

“I've had a decent run with Newcastle lately and playing just off the strikers is something I enjoy. It means I've also managed to score a few goals.”

Watching Dyer tonight, one would find it hard to believe he was at such a low ebb during his injury nightmare. His 'suicidal' quote came at a time when it seemed no-one could get to the bottom of his continued injury problems.

Indeed there were fears he may never play again.

He travelled all over Europe to try and get the injury mended, spent all of the summer in Suffolk recuperating, and while the treatment began to work, Ipswich Town offered him a base to help get his fitness back on track.

“Ipswich Town were very good to me and they helped me a heck of a lot,” Dyer added.

“I used to go down the ground and they would let me use any of their equipment. I appreciated that and I even got a few free lunches . . . as they say every little helps.

“But seriously, I was grateful.”

Dyer will play just off Peter Crouch tonight in a young-looking England side that includes Manchester United's Ben Foster in goal.

Asked about the decision to call up Foster, England boss Steve McClaren said: “Nobody has got the experience that Paul Robinson has got - we need to give these goalkeepers a chance. Chris Kirkwood is injured, so this gives Ben the perfect opportunity.”

And as regards Dyer?

“Kieron is another one I have always admired - his performances for Newcastle have been full of maturity, and I'm looking forward to seeing that maturity against Spain,” McClaren added.

England team: England team to play Spain at Old Trafford tonight, 8pm: Foster; G Neville, Ferdinand, Woodgate, P Neville; Wright-Phillips, Lampard, Carrick, Gerrard, Dyer, Crouch.

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