Fitness first for keen Dyer

IT WOULD have been a dream start to the new season after so much time on the sidelines, writes DAVE EVANS. There were 29 minutes on the clock when Mark Noble sent a delightful ball up to Carlton Cole. The big striker beat the offside trap and when his sho

IT WOULD have been a dream start to the new season after so much time on the sidelines, writes DAVE EVANS.

There were 29 minutes on the clock when Mark Noble sent a delightful ball up to Carlton Cole. The big striker beat the offside trap and when his shot was blocked by Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves goal it fell invitingly in front of Kieron Dyer.

The West Ham midfielder hit his shot first time, firm and true, but fairytales do not always come true and Jody Craddock hacked his shot off the line and the chance was gone.

Mind you, 30-year-old Dyer is still counting his blessings. It is almost exactly two years since his leg was broken in two places in a Carling Cup tie at Bristol Rovers and since then it has been a long and difficult road back for the England international.

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"There were a lot of things that went wrong with the operation," revealed Dyer, after helping his side to a first-day victory at Wolves.

"The wrong pins were put into my legs and that's stuff that is out of your hands.

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"I was told at first that I would be back in between nine months and a year, so then to be out for nearly two years was hard to take.

"You get labelled injury-prone which is very hard when someone breaks your leg to be labelled injury prone, but that's life," he reflected.

The former Newcastle United and Ipswich Town player was on the field for 73 minutes at Molineux before being replaced by Junior Stanislas, and in that time he showed that he has a lot to offer the Hammers.

Dyer was certainly happy with the team's performance: "I enjoyed it out there," he confirmed. "I haven't played 90 minutes in two years, so it is just easing me back into it to try and keep me fit.

"The plan was always to play around 60 minutes and I thoroughly enjoyed it. To come off when it was 2-0 was perfect.

"Apart from the first five minutes of the second half where Wolves gave it a real good go, I thought we were comfortable. All credit to 'Greeny' who pulled off a couple of good saves.

"We tried a new formation with the diamond and it seemed to go really well - we're pleased with it."

Dyer is an important part of the diamond formation, especially away from home. While Cole has to battle by himself up front, it is Dyer and Luis Jimenez who have to try and support the big striker, something the Englishman certainly achieved on Saturday, with one cheeky back-heel in front of the Wolves keeper coming very close to putting them 2-0 up.

However, Dyer has made just five starts for the club since his �6m signing from Newcastle in the summer of 2007, 12 appearances in all, and among those he has completed 90 minutes just twice and both of those came before his horrendous injury.

The player knows he will have to take things slowly if this time his comeback is going to be successful.

"The manager and 'Clarkey' are going to ease me in, play around 60 minutes here, 65 minutes there and maybe do that for the first six or seven games of the season," he explained.


"They may even take me out of a game and give me a whole weekend off and ease me back in like that. Obviously it will be frustrating because I don't want to miss any football, but that is the way it is going to happen."

It seems to be the most prudent course of action, and Dyer himself seems to have become an expert on the world of rehabilitation.

"I think you've seen with Eduardo and Rosicky who has just pulled another muscle. When you have been out for so long, you do get a lot of muscle strains and stuff, so you have to be sensible," he said.

Dyer showed what he can do at Wolves, but there seems to be a lot more to come and the player himself feels that he still has a lot to prove to both his employers and the club's fans.

"Coming to West Ham was a new move to me, a new start, but I had my leg broke which was very hard to take," he said. "But, touch wood, I'm due a bit of luck now and I've got a big season to look forward to.

"Since the new manager has come in he's been great for me and he has given me the confidence of being part of his plans and I just can't wait to get going."

With the World Cup in South Africa next summer, the midfielder, capped 33 times by his country, was asked the obvious question about his hopes of making the squad.

He was quick to laugh off the prospect: "I've had that question numerous times, but like I said, I haven't even played 90 minutes in the last two years, so to even be linked with England is ludicrous," he insisted.

"My job is to get on the pitch with West Ham. They pay me, but they haven't seen me on the pitch, the fans haven't seen me on the pitch.

"England doesn't come into it, I just want to play for West Ham."

Dyer certainly deserves a bit of luck, and if he continues to make the sort of progress that saw him impress at Molineux, then he could be set for that first 90 minutes sooner rather than later, and that can only be good for the Hammers.

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